This week, Nielsen announced a new service that sports networks are going to love. Nielsen will begin measuring out-of-home viewership in bars, restaurants and hotels and ESPN has signed up to be the first client. ESPN has contended its viewership numbers would increase if out-of-home viewing was measured and its argument was backed up last month.

Not only will ESPN be part of the service, but so will ESPN2. The numbers include live ratings and 7 days of time-shifted viewing.

An ESPN executive says out-of-home viewing measurement is a natural progression as viewing habits change:

“Way before TV was multi-platform, it was multi-place—especially for millions of sports fans,” said Ed Erhardt, President, ESPN Global Sales and Marketing. “We are very pleased that Nielsen is now able to effectively measure this valuable audience and make the data available to the entire industry. It is a significant step forward in measuring the unmeasured to create an accurate total live audience metric.”

And Nielsen said it was happy to have ESPN as its first subscriber:

“Given ESPN’s history as a pioneer in out-of-home measurement we are delighted to have them on board as our lead client. This service will allow ESPN and other networks to quantify the incremental lift that out-of-home viewing brings to their ratings,” said Lynda Clarizio, President of U.S. Media for Nielsen. “As consumers routinely watch television outside of their own homes, whether in a bar during a big game or in a hotel or elsewhere, it’s imperative to capture that viewing. Measuring out-of-home audiences is another example of our commitment to providing clients with a more complete picture of their audiences through our Nielsen Total Audience measurement framework.”

The service will use portable people meters to measure viewership. Nielsen will provide the data not just to the broadcast and cable networks, but advertisers and sports leagues as well. Info will be measured in 44 different markets as people go to bars, gymnasiums, hotels, restaurants and even second homes. So thanks to this new data for measuring large gatherings, Nielsen will be able to add viewership to the already existing ratings.

[Fierce Cable]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.