Sports Wins Out in a Time-Shifted Year

It’s no secret that the majority of cable-entertainment networks garnered viewership numbers in 2014 that were far lower than what they saw in 2013.

Millennial viewers, in particular, watched less and less cable television in real time, and when they watched, they often did so multiple days after an episode’s first airing. Additionally, more and more viewers used tablets as a means of consuming their favorite programs, while others tuned into content that arrived from third parties such as Amazon, Hulu and Netflix.

But there’s one genre that has seemingly evaded this necessity to rely on time-shifted Nielsen ratings as a means of attracting advertisers: Sports. Thus, it should come as no surprise that ESPN finished 2014 as the No. 1 cable network in primetime in terms of persons 18-49 and in average total viewership (persons 2-plus). The charts below show the other cable networks that performed well enough in 2014 to earn a spot in the primetime top 10.