SBD/Issue 28/Sports Media

NFL Sees Another Week Of Increased Ratings From TV Partners

ESPN Draws 13.471M Viewers For Broncos-
Chargers "MNF," Up 17.7% From Last Year
ESPN earned a 9.6 cable rating and 13.471 million viewers for Broncos-Chargers "MNF," up 14.3% and 17.7%, respectively from an 8.4 rating and 11.442 million viewers for the comparable Giants-Browns game last year. Through six weeks, "MNF" is averaging a 10.9 rating and 15 million viewers, up 18% and 20%, respectively, over the same period last year. Meanwhile, CBS’ NFL national window telecast on Sunday earned a 14.6 final Nielsen rating, highlighted by Titans-Patriots (38%) and Bills-Jets (25%). The rating, which is up 2.1% from a 14.3 rating from Fox’ national window in Week Six last season,  marks CBS’ best national window since a 14.8 in Week 15 last year. NBC’s Bears-Falcons “SNF” telecast earned a 10.9 final Nielsen rating and 18.2 million viewers, up 32.9% and 39.2%, respectively, from an 8.2 rating and 13.1 million viewers for Patriots-Chargers in Week Six last season (THE DAILY).

SEPTEMBER TO REMEMBER: With the start of the NFL season last month, ESPN posted its best month ever across multiple platforms in September. Move Analytics data indicated that ESPN360.com had its most-viewed month ever, with more than 250% growth in total hours of viewing and a greater than 180% increase in viewers, compared to September '08. comScore data indicated that ESPN.com also logged its best month ever in September -- the site generated nearly 2.2 billion total minutes and 28.8 million unique visitors, up 54% and 21%, respectively, over September '08. ESPN.com's September figures surpass previous all-time highs by 52% and 19%, respectively. Meanwhile, ESPN Mobile visitors for the month were up 82% compared to last year, while streaming audio for ESPNRadio.com reached nearly 8 million hours for the month, up almost 61% from September '08 and beating the previous record set in May '09 by nearly 40% (ESPN).

NET IMPACT: ESPN.com's Gregg Easterbrook wrote the NFL Network's RedZone Channel is a "fabulous product," and it "raises some puzzling conundrums." The channel is a "huge missed opportunity for Fox and CBS," as each net "had the opportunity to whip viewers around to highlights of other games, but rarely did so." Not enough households receive Red Zone Channel "to assess its ratings impact," but Easterbrook wrote it is his guess that once the channel is "widely seen, many football viewers will prefer it to what's on the regular NFC and AFC broadcasts -- especially when the local affiliate chooses to show some awful woofer and a hot game is in progress elsewhere" (ESPN.com, 10/20).

NEEDS COACHING: SPORTINGNEWS.com's Dan Levy wrote "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden is "totally unnecessary," and Levy blames "coach speak." Gruden during his pregame opening during Monday's Broncos-Chargers game utilized coach speak, and Levy wrote he understands it is "not easy to talk on live television, but this is the standup they can prepare days in advance" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 10/20).

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