Inside The Primetime Football Ratings

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


Leading up to this past week's game Monday Night Football had been killing in the ratings. ESPN was fresh off the most viewed cable audience of all time. Then came the "Mike Vick Bowl" this past Monday. The ratings were so dreadfully low that it tied the lowest rated game since ESPN took over the franchise last year.

What's the problem with all of this? Well it turns out that while ESPN is racking up some of the most viewed games of the year, the few terrible games (NO-ATL, MIA-PITT, SEA-SF) have actually hurt them for the year.

According to Sports Business Daily ESPN a Nielsen average of 8.1 which is down 12% from last year's 9.9. With only CHI-MIN and DEN-SD left on the Season Schedule it seems unlikely they'll be able to make up the difference and top last year.

In all fairness all networks (Primetime or not), but CBS are down from last year and that's largely due to the Network getting a 20+ rating for the Pats-Colts game earlier in the year. NBC is actually down 9% from last year and could surpass 2005's Monday Night Football for the lowest rated season of any Primetime Football Program. But again, the Flex Scheduling will probably not let that happen.

Obviously it depends entirely on the matchups each year, and this year has been so crazy that the games picked before the Season didn't turn out to be so great as originally thought. I can now understand why other Networks would be up in arms over the Flex Scheduling leeway that NBC gets.

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 2:20 PM

9 Comments:

I don't see what's so great about flex scheduling myself. NBC has picked shitty game after shitty game after shitty game since they began flexing this year's schedule. The only tolerable one was the Pats/Eagles game, and they were lucky with that one.

Anonymous said...
Dec 12, 2007, 2:53:00 PM  

Good point Anon. I guess it's the fact that they can while other Networks can't. Their decisions are pretty questionable at times, but WAS-MINN should help since both teams are in the playoff hunt.

Dec 12, 2007, 3:06:00 PM  

Fox probably blames its slump on other networks taking away all of the good Cowboys games this year.

Anonymous said...
Dec 12, 2007, 3:19:00 PM  

I'm a bit shocked at the 8.1 number...thought it would be much less...

ESPN paid much more for MNF that NBC did for SNF, yet the MNF schedule is awful compared to SNF...

Anonymous said...
Dec 12, 2007, 3:23:00 PM  

Don't forget, AA, NBC has a hand in selecting the original line-up of games at the start of the season. ABC was never allowed to choose the games on MNF - it was all up to the league. I believe that's true today (Mondays on ESPN) and as we've seen some weeks it works and some it REALLY doesn't.

All of this means less compared to the profit or loss the network receives. I doubt NBC will turn a profit from SNF this year, and this is to Ebersol, a guy who got out of the NBA because they weren't doing to pay more for a faiding TV draw!

Trip said...
Dec 12, 2007, 3:35:00 PM  

This, imo, is the consequence of the NFL marketing itself like the NBA and MLB. It's all about the Cowboys, Patriots, Giants, Packers, and Colts (and their players). Personalities and marquee franchises over parity. So when you get these teams on your network, you have gold. When you have Cardinals/Seahawks, it may be a good game on paper, but it's ratings kryptonite because nobody knows anything about the teams or players.

Anonymous said...
Dec 12, 2007, 3:51:00 PM  

If you look at the MNF schedule in April, yeah, it looked somewhat decent. But lots of Falcons and Broncos and Ravens have brought it down. It's just so hard to see how the season is going to go. And, yes, the SNF games haven't exactly been great. NBC actually CHOSE to take on Bills-Patriots.

MileHigh said...
Dec 12, 2007, 4:22:00 PM  

How many games has NBC actualy flexed? Philly/NE was scheduled not flexed. Buf/NE was the flex. Was tha the only one? I know that got the attention because that was the first week they could flex teams.

Steve said...
Dec 12, 2007, 9:52:00 PM  

Does anyone know how the ratings are for the pre-game shows. I've heard that Football Night in America (on NBC) has been dreadful, but can not verify. Just wondering if the Keith Olbermann experiment is working.

Anonymous said...
Dec 13, 2007, 1:54:00 PM  

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