The NFL’s ratings were down 12% in its opening weekend and down 15% year-over-year in its second, all on top of an 8% drop last year. One analyst surmises that CBS, ESPN, Fox and NBC will garner $2.5 billion in ad revenues this season, “but a 10 percent shortfall could translate to a $200 million cut in earnings.”
NFL teams averaged a 28.5 local rating in their respective home markets for regular-season game telecasts in 2013, up 4% from 2012 and up 3% from 2011. The Saints once again led all teams with a 52.0 local rating in New Orleans, up 14% from last season. The Chiefs saw the biggest local jump, with ratings in Kansas City up 41%.
A TVB study of Nielsen data finds that in the 30 markets where a regular season game was simultaneously offered on both a local TV station and one of the cable nets, the average household broadcast rating exceeded the cable network rating by 74%.
Want to know why NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN spend billions on the National Football League? So far this fall, 24 of the 25 most-watched television shows were football games.
The first three rounds of the NHL playoffs did very well on cable and broadcast, seeing increases over last year and even setting a few records. So you’d expect that the Stanley Cup finals, which begin tonight at 8 p.m. on NBC, would see equally strong ratings. Unfortunately for NBC, that may not be the case, due to simple geography. One of the finals teams is the Vancouver Canucks, and Nielsen’s measurements only include U.S. markets. Therefore the viewership in Vancouver, which is bound to be very high, won’t count toward the U.S. ratings.
At a time when little or nothing on television increases its audience, professional football is still finding new viewers. Of the 50 highest-rated programs during this calendar year, 27 have been NFL games, including 8 of the top 10.
Since the TV season began last September, there has been only one game in town — the NFL. It’s no longer just the players on the field shattering records. A dramatic increase in viewers has given football its highest ratings in a quarter century.