The first quarter of 2017 belonged to ESPN with an average of 2.26 million viewers in prime time — an increase of 8.5 percent from the same first quarter of 2016 — and 937,000 viewers in total day — a slight decline from a year ago. Among adults 18-49, ESPN was No. 1 in prime time with 915,000 viewers; +26 percent above runner-up USA network.

The United States’ success in the 2017 World Baseball Classic in March catapulted MLB Network to its most-watched quarter in its 8+ year history. Compared to the first quarter in 2016, MLB Network saw enormous increases: up 65 percent in total day and up nearly 116 percent in prime time.

Coverage of various NASCAR and UFC events and related programming continue to boost FS1. Year-to-year, the young network increased 15 percent in total day viewership.

Source: Live+7 from Dec. 26, 2016-Mar. 12, 2017 blended with Live+3 from Mar. 13-23, 2017 and Live+Same Day from Mar. 24-26, 2017, Nielsen Media Research

* NBCSN aired the Sochi Winter Olympics in February 2014

The first quarter period of…:
2017 is from Dec. 26, 2016 to Mar. 26, 2017.
2016 is from Dec. 28, 2015 to Mar. 27, 2016.
2015 is from Dec. 29, 2014 to Mar. 29, 2015.
2014 is from Dec. 30, 2013 to Dec. Mar. 30, 2014.

About Douglas Pucci

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