Ratings: UFC, Wimbledon, F1, NASCAR

Ratings roundup – the UFC and Wimbledon have benefited from broadcast television exposure; Formula 1 scored a record audience for the British Grand Prix and dominated NASCAR in the key demos.

UFC’s return to primetime broadcast television hits high

UFC 276 prelims averaged a combined 0.95 rating and 1.80 million viewers across ABC and ESPN last Saturday night, marking the series’ largest audience on linear television since its ESPN debut in January 2018 (1.96M). The previous high over that span was 1.77 million for UFC 246 prelims on ESPN alone two years ago, which preceded Conor McGregor’s return from a lengthy hiatus.

Broken out by network, ABC averaged a 0.54 and 929,000 viewers and ESPN a 0.41 and 871,000. It was the first primetime UFC event to air on broadcast television since the final edition of UFC on FOX in December 2017 (1.82M).

Wimbledon viewership up big as live play returns to broadcast television

Coverage of Wimbledon was averaging 619,000 viewers through Monday, up 41% from last year. Keep in mind ABC aired six hours of coverage over the weekend, the first time live Wimbledon play has aired on broadcast television since NBC last held rights in 2011. ABC averaged a 0.9 rating and 1.49 million viewers on Saturday and a 1.05 and 1.73 million on Sunday, the two most-watched windows of the tournament.

ESPN’s coverage on Monday – a national holiday – averaged 1.04 million. For ESPN, that marks a 130% increase over the equivalent day last year. Additional coverage on ESPN2 averaged 220,000.

Quarterfinal coverage averaged 678,000 on ESPN Tuesday and 863,000 on Wednesday, with ESPN2 chipping in 198,000 and 160,000 respectively. Those figures are not included in the tournament average mentioned above.

F1 British GP hits high, laps NASCAR in key demos

The Formula 1 British Grand Prix averaged 1.24 million viewers on ESPN2 last weekend, the largest audience ever for the race and the largest F1 audience ever on ESPN2. Carlos Sainz Jr.’s win, which peaked with 1.5 million viewers, increased 18% from last year’s edition of the race (1.05M).

F1 races are now averaging 1.3 million viewers on the ESPN networks, up 37% from the same point last year (961K).

Notably, the F1 race on ESPN2 easily outdrew same-day NASCAR Cup Series coverage on USA Network in all of the key young adult demographics – winning by 69% in 18-49 (0.49 to 0.29), 158% in 18-34 (0.49 to 0.19) and 16% in 25-54 (0.50 to 0.43). Only in adults over 50 did NASCAR have the advantage, winning that head-to-head by 178% (1.28 to 0.46).

Overall, NASCAR still won the head-to-head viewership by 36% (1.93M to 1.24M).

NASCAR’s USA debut trails NBCSN races last year

The aforementioned NASCAR Cup Series race from Road America averaged a 1.15 rating and 1.93 million viewers on USA Network, down 9% in ratings and 11% in viewership versus last season’s average for races on NBCSN (1.3, 2.2M). Last year’s Road America race aired on the NBC broadcast network and drew a 1.8 rating with more than three million viewers. HUT levels on Sunday were down 22% from NBC’s cable opener last season.

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