With most of their prime time during the year’s second quarter devoted to the NBA Playoffs, TNT was again the No. 1 cable network in prime time from late March thru late June. In 2016 in prime time, TNT averaged 2.102 million viewers — up 2 percent from the same time frame in 2015 (2.068 million). Despite a highly-rated Western Conference Finals between the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA’s other playoff series were not nearly as well sampled compared to recent NBA postseasons’ first round and conference semifinal series, and it resulted in TNT’s second least-watched second quarter within the past five years.

The NBA Playoffs’ other main cable outlet, ESPN, slipped nearly one percent in second quarter in prime time from one year ago; ranked sixth among cable networks overall for the quarter in prime time with 1.538 million. Euro 2016 in daytime in June still couldn’t help ESPN enough out of an overall decline — down about 1.5 percent in total day (6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.) from second-quarter 2015.

Marking noticeable year-to-year second-quarter percentage gains — the best of the cable sports networks this quarter — was NBA TV, up nearly 26 percent in prime time and up over 15 percent in total day, thanks to coverage of playoff postgame press conferences.

Copa America Centenario and the U.S. Open golf tournament bolstered FS1 to yearly gains of 6 and 9 percent in prime time and in total day, respectively.

Golf Channel continues its momentum of growth in 2016 with its best second-quarter ever. During the quarter, the network featured the PGA Tour tournaments that were won by Sergio Garcia (Byron Nelson, May 22) and Jordan Spieth (Dean & Deluca, May 29) as well as having offered all-day news and analysis of The Masters, The Players Championships and U.S. Open golf tournaments. According to Golf Channel, their coverage of the PGA Champions Tour during the quarter jumped 20 percent from its year-ago events.

Prime Time (Mon-Sat 8-11 p.m., Sun 7-11 p.m.)

NETWORK VWRS
in 2016
(000)
PCT CHG
from 2015
(vwrs 000)
PCT CHG
from 2014
(vwrs 000)
PCT CHG
from 2013
(vwrs 000)
PCT CHG
from 2012
(vwrs 000)
ESPN 1538 -0.97%
(1553)
-12.16%
(1751) *
+14.09%
(1348)
-22.64%
(1988)
ESPN2 314 -12.29%
(358)
-31.89%
(461) *
-24.34%
(415)
-33.33%
(471)
ESPNU 68 -6.85%
(73)
-20.00%
(85)
-19.05%
(84)
(N/A) **
NBCSN 629 -7.36%
(679)
-13.24%
(725)
+1.62%
(619)
+18.68%
(530)
FS1 482 +6.40%
(453)
+86.10%
(259)
+133.98%
(206) **
+113.27%
(226) **
FS2 41 no chg
(41)
+78.26%
(23)
-8.89%
(45) **
+2.50%
(40) **
GOLF 158 +7.48%
(147)
no chg
(158)
-2.47%
(162)
-4.24%
(165)
MLBN 197 -7.94%
(214)
-5.29%
(208)
+7.07%
(184)
+27.92%
(154)
NBATV 112 +25.84%
(89)
-11.81%
(127)
+14.29%
(98)
-1.75%
(114)
NFLN 122 +2.52%
(119)
-7.58%
(132)
+7.02%
(114)
+9.91%
(111)

Total Day (6 a.m.-5:59 a.m.)

NETWORK VWRS
in 2016
(000)
PCT CHG
from 2015
(vwrs 000)
PCT CHG
from 2014
(vwrs 000)
PCT CHG
from 2013
(vwrs 000)
PCT CHG
from 2012
(vwrs 000)
ESPN 676 -1.46%
(686)
-25.80%
(911) *
-5.45%
(715)
-24.22%
(892)
ESPN2 236 +5.83%
(223)
-7.45%
(255)
-3.28%
(244)
-11.94%
(268)
ESPNU 42 no chg
(42)
-8.70%
(46)
-4.54%
(44)
(N/A) **
NBCSN 169 -3.98%
(176)
-13.33%
(195)
+9.03%
(155)
+29.01%
(131)
FS1 227 +9.13%
(208)
+99.12%
(114)
+77.34%
(128) **
+77.34%
(128) **
FS2 23 no chg
(23)
+43.75%
(16)
-11.54%
(26) **
+4.55%
(22) **
GOLF 126 +0.80%
(125)
+3.28%
(122)
+0.80%
(125)
+8.62%
(116)
MLBN 110 -5.98%
(117)
+4.76%
(105)
+32.53%
(83)
+50.68%
(73)
NBATV 60 +15.38%
(52)
+1.69%
(59)
+15.38%
(52)
no chg
(60)
NFLN 73 no chg
(73)
-7.59%
(79)
-2.67%
(75)
+4.29%
(70)

Source: Live+Seven Day data from Mar. 28-June 12, 2016 blended with Live+Same Day data from June 13-26, 2016, Nielsen Media Research

* ESPN and ESPN2 aired World Cup Soccer in June 2014
** In 2012, ESPNU was not rated by Nielsen; in 2012-13, Fox Sports 1 (FS1) was known as Speed Channel and Fox Sports 2 (FS2) was known as Fuel.

The second quarter period of…:

2016 is from Mar. 28, 2016 to June  26, 2016.

2015 is from Mar. 30, 2015 to June 29, 2015.

2014 is from Mar. 31, 2014 to June 29, 2014.

2013 is from Apr. 1, 2013 to June 30, 2013.

2012 is from Mar. 26, 2012 to June 24, 2012.

 

About Douglas Pucci

Douglas Pucci is a contributor to Programming Insider and blogger at Son of the Bronx.

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