Thursday Night Football Draws Record Ratings on Network and Cable TV

Last week’s Broncos-Chiefs Thursday Night Football matchup, airing on CBS on broadcast TV and NFL Network on cable TV, was one of the crazier primetime games in recent memory, with Peyton Manning fighting against Father Time and the decline of his arm to lead a game tying drive in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, capped off by a laser touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders. The game appeared headed to overtime, but Andy Reid decided to have his Chiefs run a play instead of kneeling the ball to head to the extra session, and Jamaal Charles fumbled after the handoff, with the Broncos picking up the ball and running in for the game-winning score.

The game also drew crazy ratings, according to Awful Announcing, drawing a record for Thursday Night Football broadcasts:

The Thursday Night Football machine isn’t slowing down – in fact, it’s only picking up steam. This week’s matchup between the Broncos and Chiefs drew a 14.3 overnight on CBS and NFL Network, 4% up from the previous high mark for TNF (Ravens-Steelers last season).

The 4% jump isn’t really a large one – in fact, the game’s 12.9 primetime overnight was identical to last year’s Ravens-Steelers prime night overnight. But nevertheless, it’s still a new high for a franchise that only made its broadcast debut last season for CBS.

That new record may not last long, however. Next week’s Redskins-Giants matchup is one that could bring in plenty of eyeballs from the northeast, and the week after that features a matchup of the previous high watermark – Ravens-Steelers.

In fact, over the rest of TNF’s CBS schedule this season (which ends after Week 8), there are a couple of tantalizing matchups past the two just mentioned. Week 7 will feature the Seahawks and 49ers, while Week 8 features a potentially crucial battle between the Dolphins and Patriots.

Proof once again that America cannot get enough of the NFL, and as long as the league continues to print money with live broadcast rights, it will remain America’s true pastime.

BCS Championship Gets Best Cable Overnight Since 2011, Even Though the Game Was Terrible

According to the sports media blog Awful Announcing, the BCS Championship game Monday night, the college football Division I championship game between #1 Notre Dame and #2 Alabama, drew a 15.7 overnight rating, up 14% from the BCS Championship game the year before between Alabama and LSU. This overnight rating makes it the highest rated show on cable television since 2011, even though the game was not competitive after the first quarter.

Here’s some more from Awful Announcing about the game and the rating:

Despite the huge predictions many had coming into the game (including myself, which look really bad right now), the uncompetitive nature of the game likely drove fans away in droves, and the 15.7 overnight is lower than all of the games from 2009 to 2011, ranking ahead of just last year’s game and 2008’s LSU-Ohio State matchup. However, if that overnight rating does hold up, the BCS title game will be the highest rated show on cable since the 2011 BCS title game when it moved from ABC to ESPN (after previously being on both ABC and Fox).

The college football season ended with a sense of what might have been for ESPN instead of a party. Despite what looks like a gaudy rating, ESPN has to be disappointed by this number. Notre Dame-USC from November drew a 10.0 rating for ESPN, and the Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship game drew the same number for CBS in December. Putting Notre Dame and Alabama on the same field probably gave ESPN executives visions of record breaking numbers, yet  the end product was a 21-0 Crimson Tide lead after 15:04 and a 28-0 haltime lead that would turn into 35-0 before the Fighting Irish put points on the board.

If there was any semblance of competition in this game, the rating probably would have been much, much higher. After TJ Yeldon punched the ball into the end zone to kick off the second quarter, I wonder how many TVs were flipped off, not just by the rabid Notre Dame fans, but by the casual fans who wanted to see a competitive game.

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