I was forwarded an article from Nielsen today, and I think with the end of 2008 approaching, it would be the perfect time to look at some of the amazing ratings across all Sports last year. Not only did MNF give us the most watched cable program of the year with the Cowboys-Eagles earlier this season, but Golf, the Olympics and the Super Bowl all had record breaking numbers as well. Here are some of the numbers via Nielsen….

-The most-watched global event ever (2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: 4.7 billion viewers)

-The most-watched Super Bowl ever (Giants-Patriots, Super Bowl XLII: 97.5 million viewers)

-The most-watched cable broadcast of all time (Cowboys-Eagles, Monday Night Football: 18.6 million viewers)

-The most-watched cable golf event of all time (Tiger vs. Rocco, U.S. Open Playoff: 4.8 million viewers)

-The most-watched cable baseball game ever (Red Sox-Rays, ALCS Game 7: 13.4 million viewers)

-The most-watched NBA Finals in five years (Celtics-Lakers, NBA Championship Series average: 14.9 million viewers)

-The most-watched NHL regular season game in nine years; most-watched finals in five years (Winter Classic: 2.5 million viewers; Stanley Cup, Penguins–Red Wings average: 4.5 million viewers)

-The most-watched Wimbledon final in eight years (Federer-Nadal: 5.2 million viewers)

-Ratings for sports events are 20% higher in homes with high-definition TV sets vs. total U.S.

-75 million people visited sports websites in October 2008

-11.6 million unique users logged more than 1.2 billion minutes on fantasy sports sites in 2008

-10.6 million U.S. mobile subscribers accessed sports content via the mobile Web in August 2008

Just an amazing collection of events throughout the past year, and as the ratings company also pointed out, it can be contributed to a wealth of different factors. In my opinion the main ones to consider are the actual game storylines as well the breadth of HD programming in every Sport. I’d expect the Bowl Games this Holiday Season to follow suit and we should be able to say by mid-January that this was the most watched Sports year ever.

Be sure to check out the full PDF report if you have time. There’s a lot of interesting thoughts in there as well.

2008 A Banner Year in Sports? (Nielsen)

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