ISL Broadcast on CBS Draws Estimated 381,000 Viewers

Ratings are out for Saturday’s International Swimming League debut on network television in the United States, and according to Show Buzz Daily, it drew 381,000 viewers over the age of 2, and 102,000 viewers in the crucial 18-49 demographic. That’s based on numbers who watched it live and via a DVR device on the same day.

The overall rating assigned was a .25. That means about .25% (or .0025 as a decimal) of the approximately 120 million US households tuned in.

That match was the 2nd day of racing between Cali Condors, defending champions Energy Standard, LA Current, and the New York Breakers, meaning the teams represented 4 of the largest 8 television markets in the US.

Show Buzz Daily lists only those events that draw over 200,000 viewers, and among that demographic, the show was the lowest-viewed network television event of the week.

While it did better in total viewers than a few cable events, like a high school football game on ESPN2, it struggled among events on the most popular over-the-air networks in the country, which are the big names of CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox.

It did slightly worse than the Women’s National Soccer League game between North Carolina and Orlando that followed it on CBS on Saturday afternoon, which drew fewer total viewers (366,000) but more in the 18-49 demographic that determines most ad rates on entertainment television (139,000).

The top-rated sporting events last week were all NFL football games, with the Sunday afternoon games on Fox, which varied around the country, drawing 22.3 million total viewers and 7.8 million in the 18-49 demographic.

The top-rated non-football event was the Major League Baseball NLCS Game 7 between Atlanta and the LA Dodgers.

Other events that outdrew the swimming league include the Professional Bowling Association playoff match aired on Fox on Saturday evening, which pulled 591,000 total viewers and 143,000 in the 18-49 demographic, Premier League Soccer in NBC Sports Network, and 3 motor sports events.

The ISL CBS broadcast outdrew 5 out of 6 professional golf broadcasts on the Golf Channel last week.

On the other hand, Friday’s ISL match that was broadcast on CBS Sports Network did not crack the 200,000 spectator barrier to make the Show Buzz list. They also didn’t crack the top 150 original cable rated shows on Friday, Sunday, or Monday, which included one event with 54,000 viewers (all ages).

By comparison, multiple nights of the 2016 US Olympic Swimming Trials on NBC drew north of 5 million viewers.

No further matches on the main CBS network have been announced for this season. Of the 22 remaining match days, 9 will be streamed via the CBS All-Access platform, while 13 will be aired on the cable network CBS Sports Network.

90
Leave a Reply

Subscribe
Notify of
90 Comments
oldest
newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dan
1 month ago

Not good numbers, but how much promotions have been done for the meets?
Is it better to broadcast it live which is morning or midday depending on the match or is it to broadcast it during better hours as a replay?

swimapologist
Reply to  Dan
1 month ago

I think the odds of anybody giving it a primetime slot, even in replay, are slim-and-none given these ratings. Networks definitely don’t like replays in prime time to begin with, but especially ones that draw such poor numbers.

There was lots of talk that ISL expected because of the pandemic to just see massive ratings because “nobody’s doing anything but watching TV.” The Netflix effect.

Hopefully these numbers are a little humbling to them.

Walter
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

Hate to say it but I have little interest in ISL. I’ll look at the results, but it seems contrived and meaningless to me.

meeeee
Reply to  Walter
1 month ago

totally agree.

Swimfish87
Reply to  swimapologist
1 month ago

Nothing Hass to be prime time but the simplest thing of having mentioned on ESPN would do massive things for ISL and the swimming Community

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Swimfish87
1 month ago

Excellent point

IU Swammer
1 month ago

Dang

Swimfish87
1 month ago

USA swimming needs to do a little bit better job of getting the word out about the ISL. This has such an opportunity to grow. Swimming is the most watched sport in the Olympics there has to be a way to make the ISL pull in some of those viewers. It also doesn’t help that it’s not during prime time and it’s in the middle of the day

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Swimfish87
1 month ago

while I wholeheartedly agree, does USS see it as their “responsibility” to do so?

Swimfish87
Reply to  Coach Mike 1952
1 month ago

If they want to draw more kids and people into the sport and create a larger viewing basis which will indeed create a larger profit I suggest them do it!

Coach Mike 1952
Reply to  Swimfish87
1 month ago

agree wholeheartedly – as in of course, & hope they see it

Petros Lewis
Reply to  Swimfish87
1 month ago

yup no one knew on my team

Sportinindc
Reply to  Petros Lewis
1 month ago

We posted it on our team social media. You know, because we read SwimSwam every day for all things swimming. 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by Sportinindc
Joel
Reply to  Petros Lewis
1 month ago

Well that’s on you really isn’t it ?

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Petros Lewis
1 month ago

What kind of coach would not tell his swimmers to watch the best swimmers in the world on TV? You need to find a different coach.

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Swimfish87
1 month ago

USA swimming has to tread lightly with FINA, and recall the ISL-based (Shields, MA, someone else) anti-trust lawsuit against FINA. I think USA swimming is going to sit this one out until the ISL fizzles out because the oligarch gets tired of fronting money for a losing proposition. Sucks for the swimmers, but that’s the reality.

About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of SwimSwam.com. He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

Read More »