Cancelled sports,
not cancelled viewers

Mar 24th, 2020

Written by Ampersand Marketing

The evolution of COVID-19 has brought upon unprecedented changes to our lives and businesses across the globe. As we collectively navigate the current unknown, Ampersand’s priority is to support our clients and partners through actionable data and insights.

There have been two primary observable changes in TV consumption since social distancing measures began:

Initial increase in TV Viewership

Beginning the week of March 9th, as social distancing measures and work from home policies increased across the US, there was a proportionate increase in TV viewing levels as measured by households using TV (HUT). That increase continued over the weekend (March 13th-15th), and by Sunday, March 15th, viewing levels nearly matched this year’s Super Bowl viewing.

Cancellation of all major live sporting events

We intuitively recognize that viewers of March Madness, the NBA, the NHL, MLB, MLS and NASCAR also watch other networks and programming. With many clients already having placed budget against these events, there was an immediate need for insights into alternative ways to reach these audiences.

As a result of these changing needs, we analyzed each event to provide insights into other networks where the same audiences can be found. Before looking at the data, an initial assumption might be that the top alternative networks for March Madness audiences would be the same for NBA audiences, for example. This is not the case though, and there are important network difference between each event. Through current Nielsen national data, we’ve pin-pointed the top networks where brands can find their would-be sports audiences, enabling smarter decision-making on where to re-direct these campaigns.


From Nielsen L+3 TV/Linear with VOD playback; 6 minutes viewing needed to qualify for viewership among the demo.

Primary duplication is the percent of the demo viewers of the sport who also watched a given network.


Jump to each sporting event

March Madness    NBA Playoffs    MLB    MLS    NASCAR    NHL Playoffs

Find A25-54 March Madness viewers on these networks

Cable network Primary duplication %
TBSC 59.18
TNT 52.80
FX 30.36
AMC 29.20
USA 28.14
TRU 27.33
HGTV 25.58
HIST 24.20
AEN 23.49
CMDY 22.31
FOOD 22.30
PARA 21.90
SYFY 21.54
FREE 21.44
DISC 21.17
BRVO 20.20
E! 19.90
TLC 19.70
MTV 17.02
LIF 16.47


Find A25-54 NBA playoff viewers on these networks

Cable network Primary duplication %
TBSC 37.17
FX 36.41
USA 35.16
AMC 30.56
AEN 28.34
PARA 28.22
HGTV 27.26
FREE 27.18
E! 26.61
SYFY 26.46
CMDY 25.39
FOOD 24.49
DISC 23.56
VH1 23.40
HIST 22.35
MTV 22.30
LIF 22.08
NAT GEO 21.16
BRVO 21.06


Find A25-54 MLB viewers on these networks

Cable network Primary duplication %
TNT 69.93
TBSC 47.44
USA 45.42
FX 45.23
AMC 41.86
PARA 39.12
AEN 38.36
FREE 36.18
HGTV 35.99
CMDY 35.35
SYFY 33.97
E! 33.87
FOOD 33.19
HIST 31.71
DISC 31.64
NAT GEO 29.68
MTV 26.64
LIF 26.50
TLC 26.06
FXX 25.14



Find A25-54 Major League Soccer viewers on these networks

Cable network Primary duplication %
TNT 58.11
USA 38.82
FX 38.34
TBSC 36.38
AMC 32.73
PARA 31.67
AEN 27.78
CMDY 26.80
FREE 26.74
SYFY 26.45
E! 25.80
HGTV 24.96
FOXD 24.39
DISC 24.17
FOOD 24.09
NAT GEO 23.80
MTV 23.26
LIF 22.57
HIST 22.28
VH1 21.88


Find A25-54 NASCAR viewers on these networks

Cable network Primary duplication %
TNT 66.05
USA 55.68
TBSC 51.68
FX 50.83
AMC 49.67
HIST 49.29
DISC 49.15
AEN 49.10
PARA 46.44
NAT GEO 44.54
SYFY 41.36
FREE 40.17
HGTV 37.13
FOOD 36.78
CMDY 36.50
E! 33.76
CMT 32.95
MTV 31.70
LIF 31.01
FXX 30.39


Find A25-54 NHL Playoff viewers on these networks

Cable network Primary duplication %
TNT 56.64
TBSC 41.01
USA 39.78
FX 37.54
AMC 32.71
HGTV 31.67
AEN 31.56
PARA 29.66
CMDY 29.53
E! 29.02
FOOD 28.80
HIST 28.44
DISC 28.05
FREE 28.00
SYFY 26.59
NAT GEO 25.52
CNBC 22.53
MTV 22.44
TLC 22.10
BRVO 21.68


Stay tuned for additional supporting resources on navigating these ongoing changes, and continue to stay healthy, now more than ever.

For additional support, please contact your Ampersand representative.