Football Punts ESPN Over TBS' MLB Home Run


ESPN last week bounced back to take the prime-time ratings race, gutting out a win against TBS and its postseason baseball coverage.

The sports network averaged 3.77 million total viewers during the week ended Oct. 18, while sweeping the core demos. Per Nielsen live-plus-same-day ratings data, ESPN delivered an average 1.88 million adults 25-54, 1.83 million viewers 18-49 and 827,000 viewers 18-34.

Football secured the victory, as ESPN’s sixth Monday Night Football telecast of the season drew 13.1 million viewers. The Jets-Dolphins battle marked the second-lowest rated MNF telecast of the 2009-10 NFL campaign, topping the Sept. 14 late game, a Chargers-Raiders tilt that drew 11.9 million viewers.

College ball also gave ESPN a lift, as Saturday night’s SEC showdown between No. 2 Alabama and No. 22 South Carolina drew 4.62 million viewers between 7:41 p.m. and 11:08 p.m.

On the heels of setting its all-time weekly ratings record with 5.41 million viewers, TBS cooled down a bit, drawing 2.99 million. The Turner net took second place among the demos, averaging 1.42 million viewers 18-49, 1.38 million adults 25-54 and 690,000 viewers 18-34.

October baseball continued to drive TBS’ ratings run, as Game 1 of the National League Championship Series drew 6.84 million viewers on Oct. 15, an increase of 3 percent versus last season’s ALCS opener (6.69 million).

Also putting up big numbers were Game 4 of the National League Division Series (Rockies-Phillies), which drew 5.2 million viewers Oct. 12, and Game 3 of the Phillies-Dodgers NLCS, an 11-0 rout that drew 5.04 million viewers opposite NBC’s Sunday Night Football. (The Bears-Falcons game registered a 12.0 overnight rating and a 19 share.)

Through 16 postseason contests, TBS’ MLB playoff coverage is averaging 4.92 million viewers, up 7 percent from a year ago.

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