There are a couple of questions we get on a regular basis and rather than answer them individually we figured we’d do a post to which we can point people.
1. Where are the viewership numbers for Saturday and Sunday for sporting events on cable networks?
This question usually gets asked on Mondays.
With the exception of weeks with holidays, final national Nielsen numbers which include viewership for Saturday and Sunday aren’t available until Tuesday mornings and we usually see them a bit after release.
“But how can that be? I saw the numbers for Game of Thrones/Walking Dead/Some other show/event on a Monday!”
Networks can and do pay Nielsen for special reporting to get those numbers faster. But in those instances it’s up to the network to decide whether it wants to release those numbers (typically via press release or press notes) before Tuesday. If the networks request special reporting for Saturday and release it into the wild it gets released on Sundays.
2. Where are the viewership numbers for for Saturday and Sunday for sporting events on broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC)?
This is another question frequently asked on Mondays but the answer usually doesn’t please the impatient… If the event aired during primetime on the broadcast networks, as with #1 above, final numbers are available Tuesday morning. But, if it aired outside of primetime (a common occurrence) final numbers are not available until Thursday. As with #1 above, networks can and do order special reporting, but again it’s up to the network to release those numbers early and if they don’t, those numbers aren’t available until Thursday. We haven’t really bothered with those numbers for a couple of reasons. One reason is that we don’t have a great regular source for those numbers* and the other reason is that by the time those numbers come out on Thursday most people don’t care anymore. *We have recently been regularly seeing Live+3 viewership numbers for the previous week on Fridays which is only a day later than Thursday, but by Friday even fewer people care!
Update July 19, 2016 : the numbers for non-primetime broadcast network sports apparently now come out on Tuesdays. Check out SportsBuzzDaily.com’s Skedball which now includes viewership for both broadcast network & cable weekend sports, regardless of what time of day they aired.
Overnight metered market ratings are another story
Overnight metered market ratings are always available the next day. These are just the household ratings, not viewership, for the top 56 markets (out of 210).
On the site we haven’t bothered with these much outside of major events like the Super Bowl because it’s only the top 56 markets (though those markets represent more than 2/3rds of the U.S. population) and because we don’t have a great, regular comprehensive source for those numbers. If you do and feel like sending them to us, we’ll definitely love you for it but for now still probably won’t post a lot of those numbers here.
On our Twitter feed, however, we do regularly share some local market numbers via retweets, links to stories about them, etc.