After chomping through last week’s TV ratings and a significant chunk of Twitter’s collective attention span, it’s no surprise to see Sharknado 2: The Second One atop the week’s Twitter TV ratings. The cheesily offbeat summer sequel of marine mayhem even — and we won’t be saying this often the next few months — beat the NFL. Admittedly, the game the Shark Snark beat out involved two teams from opposite ends of one state (Buffalo and NYC) in the year’s first preseason game, which is to say perhaps the most meaningless tilt of the year, with the possible exception of the Pro Bowl.
Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings are designed to measure the unduplicated audience of people who saw tweets about a show during its first broadcast or during the three hours before and after the broadcast. Sharknado spun up an social-media audience of more than 5.5 million Twitter users, about 1 million ahead of summer Top 10 fixture The Bachelorette and that NFL game and more than double other regulars such as Pretty Little Liars and WWE Monday Night Raw,
On the sports side, you know you’re fully into early August’s dog days when that aforementioned preseason game still whips six baseball games (almost all involving contenders), a NASCAR race, and one of those random high-profile international soccer tournaments featuring, in this case, Euro club powers Manchester United and Real Madrid.
The surprising one on this list might be that No. 3 entry, the seemingly innocuous scrimmage between members of the U.S. basketball team. It was supposed to be a fun warmup between some of the NBA’s best players, except that the ESPN broadcast also featured simply awful live video of the gut-churning compound leg fracture that ended All-Star forward Paul George’s season.
The Twitter conversation over the injury, over ESPN’s repeated replays of the injury, and over the wisdom of NBA teams allowing their players on the national team turned that scrimmage into something far bigger, something that likely will shape both the NBA this year and the league’s star participation on future U.S. national teams. In other words, perfect fodder for a sustained Twitter conversation.
As always, Nielsen adds a few caveats alongside its many numbers, to wit:
Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks, denoted with an asterisk.