Keyed by the return of the National Hockey League, the debut of the Barclays Premier League, Formula One and IndyCar Racing and the Presidents Cup, NBC Sports Network and Golf Channel registered the highest percentage audience gains for cable networks during total-day in October.
According to Nielsen data, NBCSN scored a 116% improvement to 82,000 total-day watchers on average in October from 38,000 in the prior-year period to rank first in percentage growth for the month.
The national sports network was trailed by Golf Channel, which holed a 75% rise in its total-day average to 84,000, compared with 48,000 in October 2012.
Rounding out the top 5 cable network gainers in the measure were IFC (73%), Fuse (52%) and WeTV (44%).
In primetime, NBCSN also jumped to the top of the growth chart in October, recording a 183% advance to 201,000 from 71,000 in October 2012.
Fox Sports 1, converted from Speed, was second with a 90% increase, ahead of Fuse and IFC (77%) and DIY (50%).
On the broadcast side, NBC’s Sunday Night Football tackled its best October ever, averaging 21.5 million viewers, up 17% from the corresponding month in the 2012 NFL season, a 14% jump to a 12.6 household rating, and an 8.1 mark against persons 18 to 49, 14% greater than the year-ago span. The October 20 SNF game – featuring Peyton Manning’s return to Indianapolis in the Denver Broncos’ 39-33 loss to Andrew Luck’s Colts – was the most-watched October primetime NFL game in 21 years, delivering an average of 26.9 million viewers.
“October was an exciting month as many of the properties we have acquired and shows we have created turned in excellent performances,” said Mark Lazarus, chairman, NBC Sports Group. “We are pleased to share this success with our advertisers, affiliates, and league and distribution partners.”