Ratings: Premier League, Preakness, racing & more

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Ratings roundup – the Premier League season finished as the second-most watched on record. Plus: neither the Preakness nor its USFL lead-out could measure up to past years; Formula 1 and NASCAR went in opposite directions last weekend; and more, including a Stanley Cup playoff update.

Premier League season is second-most watched

The English Premier League season averaged 507,000 viewers per window across the NBC family of networks (including additional streaming data not tracked by Nielsen), up 21% from last year (414K) and behind only 2015-16 (514K) as the most-watched ever on US television.

Last weekend’s season-ending EPL Championship Sunday averaged a combined 2.2 million across NBC’s linear networks and Peacock, matching 2019 as the highest on record. Manchester City-Aston Villa led the way with a 0.48 and 817,000 on NBC, that figure rising to 955,000 with Peacock included – the largest audience on record for a Championship Sunday match. Liverpool-Wolverhampton on USA averaged a 0.33 and 652,000 (681K including additional streaming data), a record for a Championship Sunday match on cable.

Preakness hits low; USFL lead-out no match for last year NHL

The race portion of the Preakness Stakes averaged a 2.9 rating and 5.26 million viewers on NBC last Saturday evening, topping only the months-delayed edition two years ago as the lowest rated and least-watched edition of the race since it moved to NBC in 2001 This year marked the second time in four years that the Kentucky Derby winner did not participate in the race.

Airing immediately after the Preakness, NBC drew a 0.7 and 1.20 million for a Michigan-Birmingham USFL game – down considerably from a Bruins-Capitals NHL playoff game in the same window last year (1.2, 2.28M *).

F1 Spanish GP hits high; NASCAR All-Stars dip

Last Sunday’s Formula 1 Spanish Grand Prix averaged a 0.6 rating and 1.15 million viewers on ESPN, the largest live audience on record for the race and up 32% from last year (870K). Max Verstappen’s win, which peaked with 1.4 million viewers, was the fifth of six F1 races this season to top the million viewer mark.

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Later in the night, NASCAR’s All-Star Race averaged 1.4 and 2.48 million on FS1 – down 16% in ratings and 10% in viewership from last year, when it took place in June (1.6, 2.8M).

Notably, the F1 and NASCAR races tied in adults 18-49 (0.42) and F1 won out in adults 18-34 (0.32 to 0.23).

Sandwiched between F1 and NASCAR, Indy 500 qualifying averaged a 0.6 and 915,000 on NBC – up double-digits from last year (0.39, 649K).

Plus: Stanley Cup, MLB, WNBA

Stanley Cup playoff games are now averaging 894,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPN2, up 12% from last year’s equivalent windows, with semifinal games at 1.33 million. Thursday’s Rangers-Hurricanes Game 5 averaged 1.77 million, the third-largest audience of the postseason. The Oilers-Flames nightcap had a series-high 1.17 million. … White Sox-Yankees scored a 0.8 and 1.42 million viewers on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball last weekend, down from Cubs-Cardinals in the same window last year (0.9, 1.53M *). In other action, FS1 drew a 0.20 and 326,000 for Padres-Giants the previous day and TBS chipped in just 119,000 for Brewers-Padres this past Tuesday. … ABC averaged a 0.42 and 603,000 for last Sunday’s Sky-Mystics WNBA game, the network’s fifth-largest regular season audience in the past ten seasons. Mercury-Aces drew a 0.32 and 503,000 the previous day. ESPN / ABC WNBA viewership is up 15% through six games.

[Nielsen estimates from NBC Sports, ESPN PR ShowBuzz Daily 5.24]

* Asterisk indicates figure is subject to revision due to Nielsen undercount.

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