Nielsen: March Live Sports Viewership Takes a Nosedive

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According to Nielsen, the men's and women's NCAA basketball tournaments weren't enough to compensate for a dive in viewership of live sports events in the month of March. 

Compared to streaming, broadcast programming lost more than a full share point in Nielsen's The Gauge, with sports viewing down 53 percent on a month-over-month basis.

NASCAR and the NCAA basketball tournaments helped satiate some viewers, but not enough to account for the draw of the Olympics and the Super Bowl, causing the “sports event programming” share of viewing to fall from almost 25 percent to 12 percent in March.

Dramas provided some upside for broadcast, as a 17 percent increase in viewing helped it account for one-third of total broadcast viewing.

Despite a slight 0.7 percent decrease in total streaming, viewing share across all of the streaming providers captured was either flat or gained slightly in March, with the “other streaming” category grabbing an additional 0.3 percent share as new services steadily gain traction in an ever-expanding field (“other streaming” includes any high-bandwidth video streaming on TV that is not individually broken out) .

The slight dip in streaming usage was much less than the 4.2 percent drop in total TV usage, which tracks with historical norms as consumers begin to ease into warmer weather. Despite the dip in total usage, audiences spent more TV time with cable, as the ongoing war in Ukraine fueled an increase of 1.6 share points on a slight increase in total volume. 

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