SBD/Issue 248/NFL Season Preview

NFL Kickoff Marks Best Regular-Season Overnight In 13 Years

NBC Earns Its Best NFL Primetime Overnight
Ever With Vikings-Saints Game

NBC earned a 17.7 overnight Nielsen rating for Thursday night's Vikings-Saints NFL Kickoff, marking the NFL's best regular-season overnight rating since Broncos-49ers earned a 19.3 rating in December '97. The overnight also marks NBC's best NFL primetime overnight ever and beat out the '03 Jets-Redskins matchup on ABC (14.5 overnight) as the best NFL Kickoff overnight ever. Vikings-Saints is up 28.3% from a 13.8 overnight for the Titans-Steelers OT game last year. NBC won the night in primetime among all nets. The game peaked at an 18.8 rating from 9:30-10:00pm ET. New Orleans earned a 60.0 local rating for the game, tops among all U.S. metered markets, while Minneapolis-St. Paul earned a 43.8 local rating (NBC).

TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING? In Toronto, Mike Rutsey writes the NFL and NBC Thursday night, "before a pass was thrown, or a ball was kicked," made certain they had "created another monument to excess." The Vikings-Saints game "almost seemed like an afterthought given the excessive pre-game hype and phoney-baloney spectacle to do what -- create a party atmosphere in New Orleans." Rutsey: "Overdoing things to the max has become the norm instead of the exception, and about the only thing missing from the pre-game show was a fly by of fighter jets inside the Superdome" (TORONTO SUN, 9/10).

EYES IN THE SKY: USA TODAY's Michael Hiestand reports ESPN's "MNF" will put "goal-line plays under unprecedented scrutiny this season." The network uses about 24 cameras for "MNF," and now is "adding another 32 cameras -- all trained on the goal line or end zone." The cameras "will be located in areas such as stadium concourses where regular TV cameras ... usually aren't allowed because they'd block ticketholders' views." But these cameras are "small ... and unmanned" (USA TODAY, 9/10).

FAVORITE SON: Oklahoma City-based KOKH-Fox GM John Rossi Wednesday said that the station has made the Rams, led by former Univ. of Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford, its No. 2 team behind the Cowboys, "moving ahead of its No. 3 choice," the Vikings and former OU RB Adrian Peterson. Rossi added that KOKH "hopes to air the Rams anytime Bradford is starting in games that don't conflict with the Cowboys." KOCB-CW, the sister station of KOKH, "averaged an 8.1 rating for two live telecasts" from St. Louis' KTVI-Fox during the preseason (DAILY OKLAHOMAN, 9/9). Friday's issue of THE DAILY contains more on how Bradford has helped the Rams expand their regional presence into Oklahoma.  

NO SKIN OFF THEIR BACK: Barclays Capital analyst Anthony DiClemente Thursday in a report said that an NFL "work stoppage next year is 'a strong possibility,' but the major TV networks with NFL program rights, and the entertainment companies that own them, won't hurt financially if next season doesn't take place." DiClemente: "Rights fees will have no profit and loss (statement) impact, profits from advertising could be replaced by higher-margin substitute programming, and NFL broadcast revenues do not represent a substantial portion of the networks' profits to begin with" (, 9/9).

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