Billions of minutes of sports TV viewing: the numbers


Below is a table for the period of July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019 with a couple of slices of the billions of minutes of viewing . I’m with Fox Sports’ Michael Mulvihill in thinking minutes of viewing gives a much better idea of total engagement than average viewership.


2. I didn’t obtain any “sports, but not live events” (eg. pregame & postgame, encores) for the broadcast nets*
3. I didn’t obtain any information for the cable or broadcast spanish-language telecasts*
4. “Arbitrary parity” — I stuck with networks that rolled up into monotliths because I was fine including networks like ESPNU and FS2 that are only in around 60 million homes but roll up to monoliths. I didn’t think including other networks with similar (or worse) distribution like NFL Network,The Tennis Channel, etc. would’ve been fair, so I didn’t even seek that data out. Though TNT & TBS roll up to a monolith and have good distribution, the % of sports on those networks ruled them out. Arbitrary parity!



*Beggars can’t be choosers

I just listened to an encore episode of the Freakonomics podcast where both Steve Levitt and Stephen Dubner lamented that no matter what they conclude, people will still use their data to confirm their own biases and say whatever they want. As an example they noted that even in the movie version of Freakonomics against Levitt’s and Dubner’s protests, Morgan Spurlock ignored them and did what he wanted — even though it was wrong!

What hope is there for me!? Rather than analyze these #s specifically here, I wrote more generally about the TV business there.

Even though you’ll probably ignore this warning: Looking at the numbers and making conclusions without considering the companies and their business models is wacky. Before drawing any conclusions about NBC & NBCSN, for example, it’s important to remember that NBCSN’s owner Comcast is among the largest providers of cable TV service in the U.S. and the single largest provider of Internet access in the U.S. Disney, CBS and Fox have many things going for them, but Comcast-style distribution isn’t currently one of them. Different businesses and different business models. It matters. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply