Sports Events Account for 94 of the Top 100 Telecasts of 2022

Austin Karp, reporting for Sports Business Journal:

The NFL and college football continued to draw the most viewers of any form of programming as viewers watched sports in record numbers. Overall, sports accounted for 94 of the 100 most-watched telecasts for the year. That was down just one number from last year, but up from 75 during the election-heavy 2020 docket, and from 92 telecasts in 2019.

The NFL put a record number of telecasts in the top 100 in 2022, with a stunning 82 games cracking the list. That figure is up from 75 in 2021, 72 in 2020 and 78 in 2019. Those numbers came even as the league’s “Thursday Night Football” package moved from linear television to Amazon this season. No Amazon “TNF” games cracked TV’s top 100 in 2022. In comparison, six of the Fox/NFL Network “TNF” games in 2021 made the top 100.

It makes sense that Thursday Night Football viewership is down. The basic idea for “how do I watch this game?” has always been that you turn on your TV and punch in a channel number. Putting TNF exclusively on Amazon Prime breaks that, and a certain segment of potential viewers don’t understand that, or, even if they do understand it, don’t subscribe to Amazon Prime.

Entertainment continues to lose its influence on the linear TV business. For the second consecutive year — and second time in history — not one scripted TV show made the top 100.

This, to me, makes sense, because scripted TV is perfectly suited to watching whenever. What makes sports so different is the obvious motivation to watch live.

The Academy Awards made its way back to the list last year following a 2021 when no entertainment awards shows cracked the top 100. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was another non-sports program on the list.

The enduring appeal of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade is, for me, by far the most surprising thing in this report.

Monday, 9 January 2023