SBD/January 16, 2013/Media

NFL Divisional Playoff Weekend Viewership Down; Local Ratings Remain Strong

Viewership for the NFL Divisional Playoff games was down from last year. While CBS’ Ravens-Broncos double-OT game marked the net’s most-viewed AFC Divisional game in 26 years, the viewership actually was down slightly from 49ers-Saints in the same window last year. CBS led the weekend with 37.7 million viewers for Patriots-Texans in the Sunday late window, but that audience was off just over 16% from Giants-Packers on Fox in the same window last year, and also down 13% from the Jets-Patriots game in ’11. Meanwhile, Fox’ Falcons-Seahawks (19.3 rating, 32.1 million viewers) in the early window on Sunday was the only window to see a year-over-year gain, up nearly 4% from Ravens-Texans on CBS last year. The net’s 49ers-Packers game on Saturday night led all primetime TV broadcasts last week with 30.9 million viewers (16.9 rating). However, 49ers-Packers was down nearly 10% from Patriots-Broncos in the same window last year. Despite an overall drop for the NFL Divisional weekend, all four telecasts still topped ESPN’s BCS National Championship earlier in the week, which drew 26.4 million viewers. The average for the weekend also was above 34.0 million viewers for the third consecutive year (Austin Karp, THE DAILY). Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio said the NFL “continues to be a great attraction, a great draw." Florio: "It brings an audience together like nothing else, and the next time you hear about some huge TV deal and how much money the NFL is getting, you think back to those kinds of numbers. That’s why the NFL generates the revenue that it does from the networks” (“Pro Football Talk,” NBC Sports Network, 1/15).

NFL DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF WEEKEND VIEWERSHIP
DAY
NET
'13 GAME
VIEWERS
(000)
NET
'12 GAME
VIEWERS
(000)
% +/-
Sat.
CBS
Ravens-Broncos
35,300
Fox
49ers-Saints
35,600
-0.8%
Sat.
Fox
49ers-Packers
30,886
CBS
Patriots-Broncos
34,161
-9.6%
Sun.
Fox
Falcons-Seahawks
32,100
CBS
Ravens-Texans
30,983
3.6%
Sun.
CBS
Patriots-Texans
37,700
Fox
Giants-Packers
45,100
-16.4%

MARKET WATCH: In Atlanta, Tim Tucker noted Falcons-Seahawks marked the “most watched sports event on Atlanta television” since Super Bowl XLVI. Almost half of the homes in the Atlanta market -- and slightly more than 70% of those with a TV turned on at the time -- “watched the dramatic ending of the Falcons’ playoff game Sunday.” The game peaked at a 48.1 rating “during the telecast’s final 15 minutes, which saw the Falcons win on a Matt Bryant field goal with eight seconds to play.” The game’s 39.7 local rating was higher than the rating in Atlanta for CBS’ Alabama-Georgia SEC Championship (32.2), ESPN’s Alabama-Notre Dame BCS National Championship (26.9) and NBC’s London Games Opening Ceremony (24.1) (AJC.com, 1/14). About 87% of the TVs "turned on in the Seattle area were tuned" to Falcons-Seahawks on Sunday. The local rating for the game was "higher than any TV event in Seattle" since the Steelers-Seahawks Super Bowl in '06 (SEATTLETIMES.com, 1/14). In the Milwaukee market during the 49ers-Packers game on Saturday night, “a total of 74% of the sets on at the time were tuned to that game” (JSONLINE.com, 1/14). The Patriots set a local record for the highest TV rating for Sunday's win over the Texans. The 50.5 rating in Boston topped a 46.0 rating for last year's Patriots-Broncos Divisional Playoff (Patriots).

ALL THE BELLS & WHISTLES
: In Baltimore, David Zurawik noted Sunday's Ravens-Patriots AFC Championship game "will get the full Super Bowl treatment" on TV. CBS Coordinating & Lead NFL Producer Lance Barrow said, "We will have in this broadcast Sunday our whole setup that we will have down in New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII -- with all the cameras, with all the tape machines, with extra microphones on the field." The net also will have "two sideline reporters" for the game. Zurawik noted during the regular season there were "no sideline reporters" for CBS games (BALTIMORESUN.com, 1/15).

CHUCKY'S CHOICE: ESPN President John Skipper said that he is "optimistic" that "MNF" analyst Jon Gruden will stick to TV, although a Gruden associate said that "a marquee job could still interest him." Skipper said, "He reiterated his commitment to us." PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY's Barry Jackson noted Skipper "believes his decision to shift Ron Jaworski from the Monday-night booth to the studio was validated." Skipper said, "Jon's personality came through more. I always had a slight bit of trouble telling Ron and Jon apart" (PROFOOTBALLWEEKLY.com, 1/15).
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