Three baseball events and two sports awards shows filled the top 10 lists in an otherwise slow week for the Twitter TV ratings from Nielsen. The ESPY Awards – otherwise known as How ESPN Fills The Sports-Free Dead Air The Day After Baseball’s All-Star Game – grabbed the week’s biggest Twitter audience, barely beating out the Major League Baseball showcase of its talent in total audience reach.
The Twitter TV ratings are designed to track the number of unique Twitter users who saw a post about a given show during its initial broadcast or during the three hours before and after, an aid to advertisers trying to see which shows are social-media heavy hitters (and which have audiences least likely to be skipping through the ads). The ESPYs, on ESPN and its Spanish-language sibling, reached 8.3 million people through nearly 1.6 million tweets. Even the Kids Choice Sports awards, hardly a big name beyond home channel Nickelodeon, grabbed the eighth spot on Nielsen Social’s Series & Specials list. Plenty of regulars still studded this week’s list, including The Bachelorette, Teen Wolf and dethroned three-time No. 1, Pretty Little Liars. Once again, the WWE put two in the top 10, including a pay-per-view event, while reality programs Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta and Keeping Up With the Kardashians kept up their regular spots. Also of note: Univision music awards show Premios Juventud 2014, which featured plenty of Tweet-worthy fashion and performances by notables such as Enrique Iglesias and Pitbull, grabbed No. 6.
On the sporting event top 10, Major League Baseball was a hit, not only with its All-Star Game, and the day-before Home Run Derby, but even with a regular-season matchup between two of the National League’s higher-profile contenders, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals. Given the bad blood building between the teams over batters getting hit with pitches (there were three more in the game, after Dodger star Hanley Ramirez broke a rib when a pitch hit him during last year’s league championship, ending his season), it’s perhaps little surprise the game drew a lot of online conversation, even with 2.5 months of regular season to go.
Perhaps more surprising (at least to this non-golf fan), the Open Championship, known to non-snobs as the British Open tournament of golf, had all four days of play land in the top 10. And for soccer fans hoping the recently concluded World Cup is finally colonizing a permanent U.S. fan base, a “friendly” between the English Premier League team Tottenham Hotspur (easily one of the best franchise names in all of sport) and the Seattle franchise of Major League Soccer, known for perhaps the most loyal and loud fans in the North American game, scored this week’s No. 9 slot. Another league trying to build a fan base, the WNBA, saw its all-star game end up behind baseball and golf. But hey, you have to start somewhere.
As always, Nielsen pitches a full complement of caveats with its 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.”
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