TV By the Numbers: NBA Playoffs, Olympic Trials Set Pace for Watch-Time, TV Ad Impressions

Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the Women's competition of the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials at America’s Center on June 27, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri.
Simone Biles competes on the balance beam during the Women's competition of the 2021 U.S. Gymnastics Olympic Trials at America’s Center on June 27, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Image credit: Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Below is our snapshot of TV by the numbers for the week of June 21-27, shining a spotlight on the most-watched shows and networks using glass-level data from Vizio’s Inscape, and the top shows and networks by TV ad impressions with insights via

Most-Watched Shows and Networks

Via Inscape, Vizio’s TV data product with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 17 million active and opted-in smart TVs. Data is linear, live TV only and includes all episode types (new and reruns). Rankings are by percent share duration (i.e., time spent watching).

There are just four teams left in the NBA Playoffs, but having fewer games hasn’t eliminated the NBA’s lead by minutes watched on TV. During the week of June 21-27, the NBA retained first place with 2.1% of minutes watched — though that is down from 3.54% the previous week. Meanwhile, audiences are starting to catch Olympic fever, with U.S. Olympic Trials taking second place for the week, with 0.95% of watch-time.

Once again, sports are a fixture in the top 10 of the rankings. Beyond the NBA and Olympic Trials, MLB games are third with 0.94% of watch-time. The 2020 UEFA European Championship is No. 6 with 0.84%, while the College World Series is No. 7 with 0.82% of minutes watched. SportsCenter sits at ninth, with 0.74%.

A week after the U.S. Open, the PGA Tour Golf is still going strong at No. 15, while SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt and Below Deck Mediterranean are newcomers among the top 25. The College World Series also jumps 23 spots from the previous week. Two and a Half Men (syndicated reruns) closes out the top 25 this week, with 0.40% of minutes watched.

Also Read: NBCU Plans Record 7,000 Hours of Olympic Programming

Most-watched shows on TV by percent duration June 21-27

NBC stays atop the watch-time rankings for the second consecutive week, with 5.95% of minutes watched — just barely edging out ABC, which had 5.94%. The top four all stay the same week-over-week, with ABC followed by CBS (5.67% of watch-time) and Fox News (4.07%). ESPN is up two spots to No. 5, with 3.86% of watch-time. 

NBC Sports Network is the biggest mover, up five spots on the strength of the Olympic Trials and Stanley Cup Playoff action, to sit in 25th overall. History Channel also moves up three spots from No. 25 to No. 22, with 1.25% of minutes watched.

Most-watched networks on TV by percent duration June 21-27

Top Shows and Networks by TV Ad Impressions

Via, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company. Rankings are by TV ad impressions, for new episodes only. 

Early conference finals games in the NBA Playoffs delivered plenty of TV ad impressions, keeping the league on top of these rankings once again. There were over 2.1 million TV ad impressions during the NBA Playoffs from June 21-27 — 2.4 times the total for No. 2 show Good Morning America. U.S. Olympic Trials had the third-most TV ad impressions (786 million), followed by The Price Is Right (759 million) and SportsCenter (744 million) to round out the top five for the week.

Though it doesn’t crack the top 10, the College World Series still climbs all the way to 12th (from 59th the previous week) while more than tripling TV ad impressions week-over-week.

And while live sports take up plenty of real estate near the top of the charts, soap operas are also all over the rankings. The Young and the Restless are among the top 10 shows by TV ad impressions, and General Hospital, Days of Our Lives and The Bold and the Beautiful all make the list as well.

Top shows by TV ad impressions June 21-27

After a week out of the top spot, ABC overtakes NBC once again for No. 1 in these ad-impressions-by-network rankings for the week. ABC’s top programs are largely news (morning shows and evening), along with The Bachelorette. Beyond ABC (5.1 billion TV ad impressions), CBS is second with 4.8 billion. NBC (4.8 billion), Fox News (4.3 billion) and ESPN (2.8 billion) rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the timeframe.

NBC Sports Network continues its week-over-week climb, from 15th to 12th and now 11th, as a result of the NHL and Olympic Trials. ESPN2 also rises due in part to College World Series games airing on the network. The CW climbs four spots on the week, and Food Network is up two. CNBC is No. 25 in the rankings for the second straight week.

Top networks by TV ad impressions June 21-27

John Cassillo is an analyst and contributor with TV[R]EV.