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Nielsen Study: 2008 A Record-Breaking Year Of Sports Viewing

Thursday, December 4, 2008 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 4:22 PM, under

Athens, GA (Dec 4, 2008) - In a recently released study by Nielsen, 2008 was a record breaking year for sports media. Attributing this growth to deeper penetration of HDTV in homes, more online content being made available

Here are some of the global numbers Neilsen is reporting:

• The most-watched global event ever (2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, 4.7 billion)

• The most-watched Super Bowl ever (Giants-Patriots, Super Bowl XLII, 97.5 million)

• The most-watched cable broadcast of all time (Cowboys-Eagles, Monday Night
Football 18.6 million)

• The most-watched cable golf event of all time (Tiger Woods vs. Rocco Mediate, U.S.
Open playoff, 4.8 million)

• The most-watched cable baseball game ever (Red Sox-Rays, ALCS Game 7,
13.4 million)

• The most-watched NBA Finals in five years (Celtics-Lakers, NBA Championship
Series, avg. 14.9 million)

• The most-watched NHL regular season game in nine years and Finals in five years
(Winter Classic, 2.5 million; Stanley Cup, Penguins-Red Wings, avg. 4.5 million)

• The most-watched Wimbledon Final in eight years (Federer-Nadal, 5.2 million)

Some of the factors that also contributed to these numbers include things that Eye on Sports Media recently told a research consultant that the United States Tennis Association needed to do to increase their brand awareness of the U.S. Open Series and televised tennis events in general:

• Compelling story lines
• Improved picture quality through High Definition technology
• More sports networks
• The growing impact of Internet and Mobile media platforms
• The increasing popularity of Fantasy Leagues
• An interconnected global market for sports

An interesting statistic published in the report shows that sports related programming ranks highest in homes with HD:


Program Type

Political 125
Award Ceremonies
Participation Variety 110
Instruction, Advice 100
General Variety
News 92
Concert Music 90

* 3 sports categories over-indexing in HD Homes
Source: The Nielsen Company

With the elections over, it is likely that politics will fall below the sports genres.

The full report can be downloaded for free from the Nielsen Company.

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