— Tom Hoffarth (@tomhoffarth) December 13, 2017
Maybe this is another reminder why, 50 years into its existence, Rolling Stone still rocks:
A story posted Wednesday under the headline “Why the NFL is Thriving, Not Failing” seems to be in direct contrast to what a certain Twitter account wants you to believe.
It actually backs it up with data rather than observational guesswork.
One section of the story that’s numbers-driven: Ratings.
“Week 13’s Eagles-Seahawks matchup on Sunday Night Football showed a ratings increase of 14% from the Week 13 Sunday Night Football game of 2016, a game that also featured the Seahawks. The next night, the Steelers-Bengals Monday Night Football game showed an increase of 30% over the Colts-Jets game of a year earlier. There’s little reason to think that having the rights to show an NFL game is a major burden or concern for these networks. …
“Before you ever count the revenue from a single ticket or Joe Flacco jersey, the league has already pulled in $7 billion per year from their TV deals. Why so much? Because no league does close to the same numbers as the NFL and the 2016-2017 seasons are barely any different in that regard. The Week 9 Sunday Night Football game between the Dolphins and Raiders finished with 16.36 million viewers; Game 1 of the NBA Finals this year between the Warriors and Cavs had 18.7 million viewers. The Raiders and Dolphins are two of the worst and least-watchable teams that professional football has to offer. The Warriors and Cavs are two of the most star-studded basketball teams ever. …
“So NFL teams are doing more than fine in both ratings and attendance and we still have five more seasons under the current TV deal structure. By their next negotiation, with ratings trends still showing progress year-over-year when the games are intriguing or involve well-established brands like the Patriots, Cowboys and Packers, it seems probable that the NFL’s next TV deal will break its own personal records.
“As long as 110 million people are turning into the Super Bowl each year and 25 million people are determined to watch football every Monday night, then future TV and Internet deals are going to far surpass the $7 billion annually that the NFL is already making. We have not yet seen a decline from that peak.”
Now, there’s also a story posted this week by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a social commentator for the U.S. edition of The Guardian, who submits that the NBA, not the NFL, is the league of America’s future.
He also uses ratings as a starting point to his theory:
“The 2017 NBA finals averaged 20.4m viewers (a 20-year record), which is roughly the same as the NFL’s regular Sunday night audience of 20.3m, and nowhere near the 2016 Super Bowl über-audience of 111m. Based on just those numbers, football is still kicking professional basketball, baseball and hockey through the goal posts. But America can be fickle. And the Magic 8-Ball of our cultural zeitgeist says, ‘All signs point to the NBA replacing the NFL as the league of America’s future’. ..
“Although football remains our most popular professional sport, that popularity has been declining over the past five years, from 67% saying they were fans in 2012, to 57% in 2017. Professional baseball has also fallen 2% during that time. However, professional basketball has risen 3%.”
So there you go …
WEEK 14 NUMBERS
The reason Fox was pleased to keep the Rams-Eagles game from the Coliseum in the afternoon Sunday window rather than losing it to NBC in a flex situation:
The Rams-Eagles, broadcast to most of the country, had 23,784,000 viewers and a 13.7 household overall rating according to Nielsen. That made it the second week in a row that Fox’s so-called “America’s Game of the Week” (not to be confused with NBC’s “Sunday Night in America” package) was the most-watched telecast in all of television.
In L.A., the game had a 12.2 rating on Channel 11 and 28 share with an average of 956,000 viewers.
That’s more than four times the audience than what the Chargers drew in a home game against Washington: A 3.0 rating on Channel 2 (opposite Rams-Eagles), with a 7 share and 227,000 average viewers.
NBC’s Baltimore-Steelers game in L.A. on Channel 4 that night (9.4 rating/17 share/722,000 viewers.) and Fox’s Dallas-N.Y. Giants game in the early Sunday window (7.6 rating on Channel 11/20 share and 546,000 viewers) were the other two games.
THIS WEEKEND’S SCHEDULE
* Denver at Indianapolis: 5:25 p.m., Channel 4 (Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth, Heather Cox)
They’re going again with that overhead cable shot as the main camera angle, so fasten your seat belt. SkyCam was the primary viewing angle for the first time on the November 16 Thursday Night Football telecast of Tennessee-Pittsburgh, to many viewers’ chargin.
* Chicago at Detroit: 1:30 p.m., NFL Network (Mike Tirico, Kurt Warner, Heather Cox)
Warner steps in for this early NFL Net-only showing.
* Chargers at Kansas City: 5:25 p.m., NFL Network/Channel 2 (Greg Gumbel, Trent Green, Jaime Erdahl)
* Cincinnati at Minnesota: 10 a.m., Channel 2 (Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts)
CBS has the doubleheader this week and will show this one in the early window instead of Miami-Buffalo (with Beth Mowins and Jay Feely), Baltimore-Cleveland or N.Y. Jets-New Orleans. Since Fox has the single game devoted to the Rams, it can’t air in this window Aaron Rodgers’ comeback with Green Bay-Carolina (Joe Buck, Troy Aiiman), Philadelphia-N.Y. Giants, Arizona-Washington or Houston-Jacksonville (moved to Fox from CBS).
* Rams at Seattle: 1:05 p.m., Channel 11 (Kevin Burkhardt, Charles Davis, Pam Oliver)
This is Fox’s only afternoon contest of the day.
* New England at Pittsburgh: 1:25 p.m., Channel 2 (Jim Nantz, Tony Romo, Tracy Wolfson)
The NFL gets two highly-anticipated games up against each other here, to no one’s full benefit. CBS’ other game in this window is Tennessee-San Francisco.
* Dallas at Oakland: 5:30 p.m., Channel 4 (Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya)
As long as the Cowboys still have a playoff shot, they remain in prime time.
* Atlanta at Tampa Bay: 5:30 p.m., ESPN (Sean McDonough, Jon Gruden, Lisa Salters)