The latest Nielsen cable coverage estimates are out and the second verse is same as the first. The ESPN family of networks continue to lose homes. In the November estimates, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU lost 555,000, 595,000 and 710,000 homes respectively. This follows the October estimates where ESPN lost 621,000 homes. Sports TV Ratings published the latest estimates.
Other networks found November to be a tough month as well. MLB Network shed 751,000 homes and NBCSN fell by 620,000.
But the most mind-boggling figure is Golf Channel which not only gained households, but increased by a whoppping 2.26 million homes. It seems quite strange how Golf Channel would go up by that much considering that it’s the beginning of the U.S. PGA Tour season and the European and LPGA Tours had their final tournaments of their schedules.
How Golf Channel was able to increase by that number while other networks had a falloff is the million dollar question. ESPN and parent company Disney have been vocal about the Nielsen cable estimates. Their complaints last month caused Nielsen to pull back its original report, but then after double checking its numbers, resubmitted it without any changes.
We’ll see if ESPN protests once again especially in the wake of the Golf Channel figures which stand out like a sore thumb. In asking various industry sources about this increase, no one could put their proverbial finger as to why Golf Channel increased by so much.
It’s a very strange estimate, but we’ll see if this is a one-time anomaly or if this becomes a trend over the next few months.