How much bigger is ESPN than FS1? – February 2018 Cable Coverage Estimates


All of the cable coverage data for the measured networks is below, but to answer the question in the headline since the last time I posted in December, in the January estimates ESPN was in 2.707 million more homes than FS1 and in the February estimates ESPN is in 2.925 million more homes than FS1. But while Fox Sports 1 shed another 328,000 households from January to February (compared to ESPN’s 110,000 household loss) Fox Sports 2 picked up nearly 4 million households in February.


In the past that was a simple question to answer. The answer was “no.” Some people didn’t like it but it was simple! December was the last month that was the case though.

Starting with the January 2017 estimates the answer changed to “Yes….kind of.” The sample of the streaming-only households seems very, very small (144 homes!) even relative to a TV panel that makes many people foolishly long for a census (Around 40,000 homes and 100,000 people). Nielsen currently projects there are currently 2.3 million streaming only homes added to the mix. The good news is that it’s counted. The bad news is that you may have read about cable networks (all of them, not just ESPN) shedding 10 million or so households over the past 5 years.

Even from January to February of 2018 the streaming isn’t picking up the slack. The traditional bundle lost on average 337,000 households from January to February.  Offsetting them with the streaming households reduces the losses to 147,000. But, that’s still a pace for net losses nearing two million households a year.

Only one table of all the networks this month with changes versus the January estimates which I never actually posted. If you want to compare versus DecemberOctober (or July 2011) you’ll need to do it manually.


Nielsen cable (includes satellite & telco services) coverage estimates for ALL nationally measured cable networks for February 2018:

All data ©Nielsen (data provided by a variety of TV network sources and not directly from Nielsen)

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