Rayburn: Sports viewership numbers, NFL still dominates

Dan Rayburn Industry Voices

Welcome to the latest installment of Dan Rayburn's Streaming Insights & Intelligence, a weekly insights column on StreamTV Insider where the industry analyst puts facts and figures to the news you need to know about. Join the discussion on LinkedIn and check back each week as he unpacks key industry happenings.

For the week of June 19, 2024, Rayburn is tracking recent sports viewership. Catch up on all of his previous columns here

Nothing even comes close to the viewership of NFL games.

Below is a list of recent sports viewership numbers from the NHL, WNBA, NBA, Formula 1, U.S. Open, Indy 500, UFL and Premier League.

For comparison, for the 2022-23 NFL season, Monday Night Football on ESPN averaged 17.1 million viewers; Thursday Night Football on Prime Video averaged 11.8 million viewers; Sunday Night Football on NBC averaged 21.4 million viewers; FOX averaged 19 million viewers; CBS averaged 19.3 million viewers. Even the 2022 FIFA World Cup didn’t come close to the NFL (FIFA numbers here).

  • The average audience for NBA Finals Game 3 on ABC and ESPN averaged 11.4 million viewers, peaking at 13.9 million viewers.
  • The 108th Indianapolis 500 averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 5.344 million viewers across NBC, Peacock, and NBC Sports digital platforms and peaked with 6.46 million viewers.
  • The 2024 NHL Eastern Conference Final (Game 6) on ESPN averaged 3 million viewers, peaking at 3.7 million. The series averaged 2.3 million viewers; through 41 Stanley Cup Playoff games, viewership averaged 1.4 million.
  • The second round broadcast of the U.S. Open on NBC and Peacock produced a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 2.38 million viewers and peaked with nearly 3 million viewers.
  • Formula 1 AWS Canadian Grand Prix on ABC had the largest live television audience on record, with an average of 1.8 million viewers and a peak of 1.97 million viewers. The Miami Grand Prix in early May set the all-time F1 record for a live telecast with 3.1 million average viewers.
  • The WNBA game of the Indiana Fever versus the Chicago Sky averaged 1.53 million viewers on ESPN, with viewership peaking at 2.19 million.
  • The NCAA Division I Softball Women’s College World Series Finals on ESPN drew 1.9 million viewers and peaked at 2.5 million, making it the most-watched Game 1 on record.
  • Over Memorial Day Weekend, ION, CBS and NBA TV set viewership records for WNBA broadcasts, with 724,000 viewers, peaking at 981,000.
  • CBS carried a WNBA game between the NY Liberty and the Minnesota Lynx, which drew 704,000 viewers, the highest viewership for a WNBA game on CBS.
  • The UFL game between the D.C. Defenders and the San Antonio Brahmas on FOX averaged 684,000 viewers, peaking at 1.3 million viewers.
  • For the Premier League 2023-24 season, Peacock averaged a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 546,000 viewers per TV match window. The Championship averaged a Total Audience Delivery of 2.9 million viewers across all TV and streaming platforms in English and Spanish.

Dan Rayburn is an analyst in the streaming media industry, with regular TV appearances on CNBC, Bloomberg TV, and Schwab Network amongst others. He is conference Chairman for the NAB Show Streaming Summit in Las Vegas each year, and his streamingmediablog.com website is one of the most widely read sites for broadcasters, content owners, OTT providers, Wall Street money managers, and industry executives. He also has a podcast at danrayburnpodcast.com. He can be reached at [email protected]

Dan Rayburn’s Streaming Analysis & Insights is an opinion column. It does not necessarily represent the opinions of StreamTV Insider.