NFL Still Thursday Cable TV Ratings Leader

Despite complaints about the quality of play and talk of viewers abandoning the league, the NFL is still the cable TV ratings leader on Thursday nights, with the Thursday Night Football broadcast between the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland (soon to be Las Vegas?) Raiders last Thursday winning the night, including a 1.4 rating in adults 18-49, the most coveted demographic for advertisers, for the NFL Network.

The NFL Network’s numbers are part of a combined victory for the NFL, with the game also being broadcast on NBC. Here’s more on that from Deadline:

The Kansas City Chiefs 21-13 win over the Oakland Raiders may be the best either team has done ratingswise in primetime this season but with a 11.6/20 in metered market results, it was a hard hit from last week. In fact, last night’s game on NBC and the NFL Network was down 16% from the Dallas Cowboys at the Minnesota Vikings match-up of December 1. On NBC stations alone, the Chiefs vs. Raiders game drew a 9.1 in MM numbers, down 17% from last week with the two big national following teams.

Now NBC will easily win the night with its TNF package, which is down a point from last week with its 3.7/14 rating among adults 18-49 and 12.15 million in unadjusted fast affiliate numbers, but the results once again reflect the soft underbelly the NFL has on TV. In a season that has seen week after week of lows or declines on various networks, the problem of too many big spread wins, too many games or too many match-ups with regional teams still seems to be ignored by the football powers-that-be – AKA, you can’t asks the Cowboys or the Patriots to save your skin every week.

Stay tuned to the TV, Internet and Phone Blog for more sports TV ratings and more.

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.

2015 NFL Schedule Released for Network and Cable TV

One can’t go a day, even in the offseason, without hearing some news about the National Football League. The NFL has replaced Major League Baseball as America’s favorite sport, and finding out the schedule for the upcoming season, including which games will be broadcast in primetime on network and cable TV, is a favorite day for hardcore fans and sports media pundits alike. Live sports rights continue to escalate in value and profitability, as sports are the only programming that is not improved immensely by watching via DVR. As long as people watch sports—football particularly—live, it’ll be a valuable commodity, with advertising time on primetime NFL games especially. Here is the full schedule of primetime NFL games on network TV and on ESPN and NFL Network.

Via Deadline:

Thursday Night Football (NBC Week 1; CBS/NFL Network simulcast Weeks 2-8; NFL Network Weeks 9-16)
Week 1: Steelers at Patriots
Week 2: Broncos at Chiefs
Week 3: Redskins at Giants
Week 4: Ravens at Steelers
Week 5: Colts at Texans
Week 6: Falcons at Saints
Week 7: Seahawks at 49ers
Week 8: Dolphins at Patriots
Week 9: Browns at Bengals
Week 10: Bills at Jets
Week 11: Titans at Jaguars
Week 12: Bears at Packers (Thanksgiving)
Week 13: Packers at Lions
Week 14: Vikings at Cardinals
Week 15: Buccaneers at Rams
Week 16: Chargers at Raiders

Sunday Night Football (NBC)
Week 1: Giants at Cowboys
Week 2: Seahawks at Packers
Week 3: Broncos at Lions
Week 4: Cowboys at Saints
Week 5: 49ers at Giants
Week 6: Patriots at Colts
Week 7: Eagles at Panthers
Week 8: Packers at Broncos
Week 9: Eagles at Cowboys
Week 10: Cardinals at Seahawks
Week 11: Chiefs at Chargers
Week 12: Patriots at Broncos
Week 13: Colts at Steelers
Week 14: Seahawks at Ravens
Week 15: Bengals at 49ers
Week 16: Steelers at Ravens
Week 17: TBA (flex game)

Monday Night Football (ESPN)
Week 1: Eagles at Falcons; Vikings at 49ers
Week 2: Jets at Colts
Week 3: Chiefs at Packers
Week 4: Lions at Seahawks
Week 5: Steelers at Chargers
Week 6: Giants at Eagles
Week 7: Ravens at Cardinals
Week 8: Colts at Panthers
Week 9: Bears at Chargers
Week 10: Texans at Bengals
Week 11: Bills at Patriots
Week 12: Ravens at Browns
Week 13: Cowboys at Redskins
Week 14: Giants at Dolphins
Week 15: Lions at Saints
Week 16: Bengals at Broncos

NFL Football Most Popular Cable Broadcast

Once again, for the week ending October 7, Monday Night Football on ESPN was the top-rated television program on cable TV. Last week, however, politics also entered the cable TV fray, with Fox News’ debate broadcast and post-debate coverage taking the number two and number three spots, respectively, and the NFL’s other cable broadcast, Thursday’s NFL Network game between the Rams and Cardinals, strongly in fifth place.

What does this tell us about the viewing habits of the American public? First of all, baseball is no longer America’s Pastime, football is. Looking forward a few weeks, regular season NFL broadcasts will likely draw more viewers than the baseball playoffs and the World Series, unless the Yankees happen to make it to the final round. The NFL Network is a slightly obscure channel that is still not in as many cable homes as ESPN or Fox News, but in the homes where it is present, the game is watched by a large percentage of TV viewers. The MLB Wild Card play-in games ranked ninth and 25th, respectively.

Also, Fox News is winning the election season so far, as far as ratings go. The audience for Fox is more loyal than the audience for CNN, and larger than the loyal, left-leaning audience of MSNBC, Fox’s liberal counterpart across the aisle and the dial.

Monday Night Football consistently winning the ratings week in and week out also shows the power that ESPN has among cable providers. Cable TV and satellite TV providers pay their largest fees to ESPN and its related networks, far more than any other bundle of cable channels, because there are very few people who would order a cable package that does not include ESPN.

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