NBCSN Nears Best-Ever Year In Total Day

With two weeks remaining in 2014, NBCSN is nearing the finish line on its best ever year with the total-day measure.

Lifted by contributions from the Sochi Olympics, as well as strong performances by its NHL, Premier League and auto racing properties, NBCSN officials said the service is also the fastest-growing sports cable network, gauged on a total-day basis.

Over the first 50 weeks of the Nielsen year -- Dec. 30, 2013 through Dec. 14, 2014 -- NBCSN averaged 145,000 total-day watchers, a 54% jump from 94,000 at the corresponding stage of 2013.  NBCSN executives said that growth rate is five times greater than any other cable sports network.

At this stage, the 145,000 average also ranks 23% above the service’s – then known as Versus – previous best performance of 118,000 viewers in 2009.

On the demo watch, NBCSN registered 46% and 48% advances among adults 18 to 49 and 25 to 49, respectively. Those gains also top the list among sports cable networks.

In primetime, NBCSN has scored a 7% increase to 302,000 viewers from 282,000 in 2013.

NBCSN’s performance benefited greatly from the Winter Olympics. The service averaged 1.6 million viewers from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. (ET), 134% amelioration from the 692,000 for its daytime presentation from the London Summer Games in 2012.  The 10 best weekday daytime audiences in NBCSN’s history came during its run in Sochi, while the network’s five highest viewership totals for weekend daytime were also recorded during the quadrennial from Russia.

Backing out the impact of the Winter Games, NBSCN would have tallied 116,000 watchers in total-day, year-to-date, a 23% bump from 2013 and still the best growth rate in the sector.  

Elsewhere, NBCSN lit the Nielsen lamp during the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs, averaging nearly 1.23 million viewers over 62 contests last spring. That was the best postseason for the puck sport on cable since 1997.

On the pitch, NBCSN, after a cable-record-setting 2013-14 campaign yielded average viewership of 420,000, has added 15% to that base during its second season with the U.K.’s top soccer circuit.  Most of the action plays out on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Similarly, Formula One has buttressed NBCSN’s position in what officials say amounts to a new daypart. Even though many races drop the flag before 8 a.m. (ET), NBCSN revved the best-ever season for a single cable network with 385,000 viewers on average for 12 races, 86% improvement from 207,000 for 13 races a year ago.

Meanwhile, NBCSN averaged 378,000 viewers during the 2014 IndyCar season, a 34% surge from 2013 and the second-best performance behind the 402,000 in 2011 since its predecessor acquired the rights in 2011.