What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
I’m all in favor of anything that chips away at the dominance the World Wide Bottom-Feeding Four-Letter Network has over the sports world. That’s why I found this press release from the NBC Sports Network so refreshing.
Buoyed by seven of the 10 most-watched NHL games in the network’s history, NBC Sports Network viewership rose 14% in the first quarter compared to first quarter in 2012, according to data released by The Nielsen Company. Additionally NHL programming, including the newly-created Wednesday Night Rivalry games, was up 58% compared to Q1 in 2012, the best start in the network’s history; The Dan Patrick Show viewership is up 58% compared to time period in 2012 Q1; the opening IndyCar telecast rose 78%; and MLS games are up eight percent over last year.
That opening paragraph gives one a brief shot as to what NBC sports Network is doing right; the rest of the release gives some details. We here at Dubsism intend to use those details to offer some suggestions as to how this network can continue it’s growth.
FIRST QUARTER RESULTS:
There was no NHL programming for the first three weeks of the quarter in 2013, including no NHL All-Star Weekend programming. When removing the first three weeks of NHL programming (including All-Star Weekend) to form a direct comparison, NBC Sports Network was up 14% in primetime compared to first quarter 2012 (193k viewers vs. 170k viewers) and up 14% on total day (65k viewers vs. 57k viewers).
In the Adult 18-49 demo, viewership is up 12% for primetime and 10% for total day for ALL programming (no NHL exclusions);
NBC Sports Network’s audience got younger. Median age in first quarter of 2013 was 44 in primetime, down from 47 for first quarter in 2012.
NBC Sports Network averaged 193k viewers in primetime (8-11 p.m.) and 65k viewers for total day (6 a.m. – 6 a.m.) during first quarter of 2013, both up from the first quarter in 2012 (191k and 63k, respectively including NHL programming).
FIRST QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS:
NHL: NBC Sports Network delivered seven of the 10 most-watched regular-season games in the network’s history (NBCSN/VERSUS/OLN) during first quarter 2013, including the top two most-watched.
NBCSN’s 38 games in the first quarter averaged 428k viewers, up 34% from the 2012 first quarter average, the best start for the NHL on NBC Sports Network in the network’s history. NBC Sports Network’s 10 Wednesday Night Rivalry games, newly-developed this season, averaged 680k viewers, an increase of 55% compared to the Wednesday night exclusive game average in first quarter 2012.
TOP 10 MOST-WATCHED NHL GAMES ON NBCSN/VERSUS/OLN
- BRUINS-RANGERS 01/23/13: 956,000 viewers
- FLYERS-PENGUINS 02/20/13: 901,000
- BRUINS-FLYERS 10/06/11: 874,000
- BLACKHAWKS-WILD 01/30/13: 827,000
- CANADIENS-BRUINS 03/03/13: 813,000
- CANADIENS-BRUINS 03/27/13: 773,000
- BRUINS-CANADIENS 02/06/13: 771,000
- PENGUINS-FLYERS 12/14/10: 750,000
- FLYERS-PENGUINS 10/07/10: 730,000
- AVALANCHE-BLACKHAWKS 03/06/13: 720,000
Suggestion #1: Show more NHL
In direct comparison to the first quarter of 2012, hockey viewership on NBCSN is up 14%, which is pretty impressive considering the NHL lockout chopped three weeks off the beginning of the quarter and killed the NHL All Star Weekend. This network is getting major growth from the NHL, but it is only really doing about a third of what it could do. First of all, NBC Sports Network is only showing the NHL 3 or 4 nights a week, and the nights it isn’t running hockey, it features some really unwatchable stuff. Show more NHL games, and show less Tour de Whereeveristan bicycle racing.
To that end, show NHL double-headers while you are at it. If you look at the list above, you notice right away that the vast majority of the games being shown involve teams in the Eastern time zone. Those are great for the 7 pm time slot, but there are four of the best teams in the league in the Pacific time zone. You’ll get more viewers at 10:30 pm ET with live hockey from California than you will with re-runs of “The Crossover.”
Now, let’s look at the other areas where NBCSN is showing growth.
INDY CAR: The 2013 IndyCar season debuted on NBCSN with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg on Sunday, March 24. The race delivered 388,000 viewers, a 78-percent increase vs. last year’s first race on NBC Sports Network (218,000).
It was also the second-best season-opener for NBC Sports Network’s IndyCar coverage (since 2009) behind only the 2010 race from Sao Paulo, Brazil (410,000).
In the advertiser-coveted Adult 18-49 demo, the race delivered 126,000 viewers, up 91% vs. last year (66,000).
Suggestion #2: Get a list of “growth” sports, and grow them
I’m not an auto racing fan at all, but it seems there are plenty of fans out there for Indy Car, formula One, Drag Racing, etc. You going to get more viewers for this than you will with all that hunting and fishing shit. There’s a whole network for that, and it’s also owned by NBC Universal. Let the 300-pound camo wearers tune in over there, and put more stuff on NBCSN that is actually sport. Here’s a list of things you either already show or should show.
That brings us to the one sport NBCSN is growing, soccer.
MLS: NBCSN’s six MLS matches in first quarter averaged 112k viewers, an increase of eight percent over last year’s first quarter matches. NBCSN’s primetime MLS Rivalry Day match on March 16 (Portland at Seattle) drew 209k viewers, the second most-watched MLS game on NBCSN (excluding games that had an Olympic lead-in).
Suggestion #3: Soccer, soccer, and more soccer
Don’t even start that “Americans don’t like soccer” shit with me. I understand why the MLS still doesn’t draw well because it is minor-league compared to the “real thing.” Whether or not Americans get that soccer is the world’s most popular sport really doesn’t matter, because soccer is gaining in popularity in North America, and the population of the U.S. is getting more foreign-born every day. This will only get better when NBCSN gets “real” soccer when it gets the U.S. rights to broadcast the English Premier League. That’s also where the growth potential is. If NBCSN can get some of the other prime soccer competitions off the additional “pay” cable tiers, it can grow exponentially. Those could be at least any two of the following:
However, the biggest growth NBCSN has seen has happened on weekday mornings.
THE DAN PATRICK SHOW: Viewership for The Dan Patrick Show (41k average viewers) rose 58% from the M-F 9 a.m. – Noon time period in first quarter of 2012.
So, now we depart the realm of live sports in favor of the arena of sports-based entertainment. Here is where things get dangerous, because you can end up being just like the World Wide Bottom-Feeder. Here’s how to avoid that.
Suggestion #4: No debate shows…EVER
Let the blow-job hacks at ESPN keep all that pointless shit like First Take, The Sports Reporters, and about half the content on SportsCenter.
Suggestion #5: Make high-light shows dedicated to particular sports
The model to follow here would be the first season of ESPN’s Baseball Tonight; a show that runs nothing but highlights and discussion from every game and every team which played that day.
Suggestion #6: Get rid of “The Crossover.”
This just marks an attempt to be just like the World-Wide Bottom Feeder.
The bottom line is this. It does my heart good to see any real competition emerge for the World-Wide Bottom Feeder. The way to continue that growth is to stick to sports; that’s what we want, and deviating from sports is what makes the four-letter network unwatchable.