How many more homes is ESPN in than FS1? – November 2016 Cable Coverage Estimates

November 4, 2016

Update: as many of you know Nielsen reviewed these estimates per request so I pulled down the numbers while they were under review. Nielsen has now validated its findings so I’m putting them back up. Here’s ESPN’s statement on the November estimates: “This most recent snapshot from Nielsen is a historic anomaly for the industry and inconsistent with much more moderated trends observed by other respected third party analysts. It also…


How many more homes is ESPN in than FS1? – October 2016 edition

September 29, 2016

  After across-the-board gains in the September cable coverage estimates due to changes in Nielsen’s methodology, cable TV as a whole resumed its downward trend in the October estimates. Most of the cable sports networks were not spared though FS1 and NBCSN saw small gains month over month. NFL Network saw a 767,000 home increase in the October estimates but I’m not sure why (the increase due to the resolution of…


Reminder: You can watch Vin Scully’s final broadcast for free on

September 23, 2016

I’ve seen some handwringing about what a travesty it is that no national network is televising Vin Scully’s final game. I haven’t seen as much promotion about how if you want to see/hear Vin’s final broadcast, unless you live in San Francisco you don’t have to miss it!  The game will be available for free via Coverage of Dodgers-Giants starts at noon ET. Blackout rules apply, but the game will be on local broadcast…


How much more does ESPN make in affiliate revenue than the other sports networks?

August 30, 2016

In the middle of 2011, ESPN was in over 100 million homes according to Nielsen estimates. In those same Nielsen estimates for September 2016, ESPN is in just under 89 million homes. Down 11 million homes in a little over five years! It sounds awful. There’s another frame of reference though, courtesy of SNL Kagan which for years has produced estimates for “affiliate revenue per subscriber/month.” That is, estimates for how much on…


ESPN up but rebels close in on the Death Star: How many more homes is ESPN in than FS1? – September 2016 edition

August 26, 2016

If you want to skip the jibber jabber you can just scroll down to the tables. If you’re on a mobile phone, please tilt it sideways so you can  read the tables. Highlights: After many, many months of declines, ESPN and everybody else was up in Nielsen’s September cable coverage estimates. But despite the up month for ESPN, FS1 made up considerable ground. In the August estimates FS1 trailed ESPN by 6.1…


TV ratings FAQ

August 14, 2016

The video above is nearly 5 years old, but it’s still the best general explainer of TV ratings that I’ve seen. Plus it has puppets! If you do nothing else, I recommend watching the video. I’m going to address five specific questions below. The first three are the most frequently asked questions I’ve seen specific to sports TV ratings. The last two are more general. Question: If I stream a sporting event online or…


Mailbag: Why are you picking on ESPN? FS1’s #s are down too!

August 4, 2016

It seems like you and others are biased against ESPN and single out its losses in terms of the number of homes it’s available in, but other networks like FS1 are down big too over the last 6 months.  What gives? Brandon St. Louis, MO What gives is that ESPN makes so much more per subscriber than the other sports networks — at least five times as much as FS1 based…


Mailbag: How come your number was 201,000 but ESPN says it was 1.9+ **Million**?!

August 1, 2016

TL;DR: understanding of Nielsen terminology + applied basic mathematics. I get variations on questions like the one in the headline fairly often. In this case it’s in reference to the e-sports EVO telecast on ESPN a couple of weeks ago that indeed averaged 201,000 viewers in the Nielsen live plus same day DVR reporting. Additional numbers were released that said the EVO telecast averaged 1.946 million viewers who watched on average 20 minutes each….