One of the most interesting things you'll see in the blogosphere is our friend Paulsen's list of the Most Watched Sporting Events of the year over at Sports Media Watch. It's a revealing look at the big picture of sports ratings and the popularity of the biggest events in sports on television.
It's also an annual example of just how far ahead the NFL is compared to other sports leagues. In the list of the 50 most watched events in 2013 through the MLB All Star Game, the NFL dominates the list.
Of the Top 10 most watched sporting events, 10 of them belong to the NFL. That's right, every single one are NFL playoff games from the early part of the year. From the 108+ million who tuned in for the Super Bowl (and its power outage) to the 29+ million who watched the Colts-Ravens Wild Card game. No other sport has even approached that number of viewers so far in 2013.
The next most watched game was the BCS title game, which was actually down from last year in viewership thanks to Alabama running circles around Notre Dame like they were an FCS school. The 26.38 million viewers barely eclipsed Game 7 of the NBA Finals between the Heat and Spurs at 26.32 million. Elsewhere of note…
-What's the most successful TV sports property behind the NFL? It may be the college football bowl season. In addition to the title game, the Rose, Sugar, Orange, and Fiesta Bowls all made the cut. And, 2 bowls outside the BCS made the Top 50 in the Cotton and Capital One bowls. With the college football playoff on its way, one would imagine these numbers only increasing.
-The NBA did fairly well thanks to the Miami Heat – 12 playoff games make the Top 50 with all off them coming from the NBA Finals and Eastern Conference Finals.
-NASCAR has faced news of declining ratings in recent years, but they still compare favorably to other sports. The Daytona 500 drew over 16 million viewers (#18) on the list, ahead of any event from MLB, golf, tennis, soccer, or the NHL. 2 other NASCAR races made the Top 50 in Phoenix and California.
-Two sports with positive ratings trends, hockey and soccer, still have a ways to go to reach other sports in terms of total viewership. The top hockey game, Blackhawks-Bruins Game 6, enters at #47 on the list at 8.17 million. The top soccer game, a USA-Mexico World Cup qualifier, didn't make the Top 50 with just under 7 million viewers.
-And finally, one last note on the NFL's total and utter dominance. The Pro Bowl, the joke of a postseason exhibition game that is hanging on by a thread and nearing extinction, the PRO BOWL stands at #29 with 12.16 million viewers. This beat the Cotton Bowl, Pacers-Heat Game 7 and every NBA playoff game before the Finals, every Stanley Cup game, every MLB game so far in 2013, every soccer and tennis match, and every golf tournament except for the final round of The Masters.
What's more, the NFL Draft drew over 7 million viewers between ESPN and NFL Network, placing it above the Outback Bowl, several NASCAR races and NCAA Tournament games, the Belmont Stakes, and both men's and women's Wimbledon Finals combined.
The NFL is king. Everyone else is just fighting for second place.
For more of the list, visit Sports Media Watch