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Was 2008 the best sports year ever? At least in terms of viewer interest, there’s plenty of evidence to support that argument.

Consider these U.S. TV sports highlights from 2008:

  • The mostwatched global event ever (2008 Beijing Summer Olympics: 4.7 billion viewers)
  • The mostwatched Super Bowl ever (GiantsPatriots, Super Bowl XLII: 97.5 million viewers)
  • The mostwatched cable broadcast of all time (CowboysEagles, Monday Night Football: 18.6 million viewers)
  • The mostwatched cable golf event of all time (Tiger vs. Rocco, U.S. Open Playoff: 4.8 million viewers)
  • The mostwatched cable baseball game ever (Red SoxRays, ALCS Game 7: 13.4 million viewers)
  • The mostwatched NBA Finals in five years (CelticsLakers, NBA Championship Series average: 14.9 million viewers)
  • The mostwatched NHL regular season game in nine years; mostwatched finals in five years (Winter Classic: 2.5 million viewers; Stanley Cup, Penguins–Red Wings average: 4.5 million viewers)
  • The mostwatched Wimbledon final in eight years (FedererNadal: 5.2 million viewers)
  • The surge in viewership could be attributed to the dramatic storylines behind these games and events, but Nielsen’s analysis shows that new technology is enhancing the sports fan’s experience:
  • Ratings for sports events are 20% higher in homes with highdefinition TV sets vs. total U.S.
  • 75 million people visited sports websites in October 2008
  • 11.6 million unique users logged more than 1.2 billion minutes on fantasy sports sites in 2008
  • 10.6 million U.S. mobile subscribers accessed sports content via the mobile Web in August 2008
2008 A Banner Year in Sports?… (.pdf file from Nielsen)
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