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Volume 24 No. 137
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Rams-49ers Matchup Surprises With High-Scoring "Thursday Night Football" Affair

NFL Network drew a 6.1 overnight rating for the Rams' 41-39 win over the 49ers on "TNF." Last season's Week 3 "TNF" game, which featured the Patriots' 27-0 blowout of the Texans, aired on both CBS and NFL Network and drew a combined 12.5 overnight. That game also was streamed on Twitter. Two years ago, CBS and NFL Net combined for an 11.9 overnight for the Week 3 "TNF" matchup, which featured Redskins-Giants. Through two weeks, "TNF" on NFL Net is averaging a 6.55 overnight rating. This marks the first time since '13 that NFL Net has had the exclusive broadcast rights to the first two "TNF" games (Josh Carpenter, Assistant Editor).

DREAM SCENARIO: PFT's Mike Florio said the matchup on Thursday "made for an exciting game." Florio: "I don't need 80 total points. ... (But) it was a memorable game and I'm glad I watched." Florio: "Kudos to both teams for showing me; it was like a playoff level intensity, like a Thanksgiving game" ("PFT," NBCSN, 9/22). L.A.-based KTTV-Fox' Liz Habib wrote on Twitter, "Had this dream last night that the @RamsNFL had an exciting offense, played a fun #TNF game." The Dallas Morning News' Tim Cowlishaw: "Ok I take it back. Thursday Night Football is the greatest football ever." NFL Network's Rich Eisen: "My friends at @espn should start the @30for30 on this game right now." Fox Sports' Peter Schrager: "Amazing how all the people who complain about Thursday Night Football spend their Thursday nights tweeting about Thursday Night Football."

BAR EXAM: AD AGE's Anthony Crupi noted the NFL's "much-ballyhooed" '16 ratings crisis "appears to have been largely offset by a Nielsen initiative to measure audiences in bars, restaurants, gyms and other out-of-home venues." When the ancillary data is "blended with the traditional TV panel, NFL broadcast partners last season came close" to matching '15's deliveries. Magna's annual U.S. Sports Report indicates that out-of-home (OOH) coverage on average "added 911,072 adults 18 to 49 to each NFL broadcast window" over the course of the '16-17 season, a 13% "improvement over the baseline in-home deliveries." The only major NFL window "not represented in Magna's analysis" was NBC's inaugural five-game "TNF" package. Magna's analysis on last season's NFL ratings "may somewhat alleviate the agita the networks felt in the first half of last season, when overall deliveries were down" 12%. The Sunday afternoon CBS and Fox games were "particularly successful in clawing back a good deal of the shrinking at-home audience by way of the sports bar and taproom." The primetime NFL packages saw "less pronounced OOH lifts, but bar and restaurant patrons still helped pad out the final stats." ESPN is "ahead of the pack on OOH." Fox Sports began "laying the groundwork with advertisers about the potential of OOH lifts" during its June upfronts. CBS on Thursday also "climbed aboard." NBC has yet to "make an announcement regarding its own emerging OOH strategy" (, 9/21). In Dallas, Tim Cowlishaw gives five reasons why the NFL's ratings "aren't nearly as bad as they look," including bad games, bad big markets, bad headlines, red zone rules and weather (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 9/22).

WEEK 2 RECAP: Fox led NFL Week 2 telecasts with the national window on Sunday, highlighted by Cowboys-Broncos. That 4:30pm ET telecast averaged around 26 million viewers on Fox -- and that does not include the hour-long weather delay that forced the telecast well into primetime. The game also drew an average minute streaming audience of 114,108 viewers, marking Fox Sports Go’s third-best NFL game on record. Packers-Falcons on NBC’s “SNF” finished with 20.2 million viewers, down from 22.8 million for Packers-Vikings in Week 2 last season, but enough to give NBC a primetime win and a comfortable win over the Primetime Emmys on the same night. “SNF” had an average minute audience of 216,000 viewers on NBC Sports Digital platforms. On Monday night, ESPN averaged 12.3 million viewers for Lions-Giants, up from 12.1 million for Eagles-Bears in Week 2 last year. For the opening “TNF” game in Week 2, which featured Texans-Bengals, NFL Net averaged, averaging 8.1 million viewers. The “TNF” opener had been on CBS the past three seasons, with NFL Net only doing a simulcast. NFL Net last had the “TNF” opener in ’13, drawing 8.8 million viewers for Jets-Patriots (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

NOT THAT BAD? In St. Louis, Dan Caesar noted the Rams "made a brief appearance" on St. Louis TV last weekend, and they "drew a better rating in the market they jilted two years ago than they did in their new hometown." Fox showed the Cowboys-Broncos game in St. Louis in the late-afternoon slot Sunday, but that matchup was "delayed for about and hour because of lightning." So from approximately 5:00-6:00pm ET, Fox "switched its affiliates carrying that contest" -- KTVI locally -- to Redskins-Rams. For that hour, the average rating in St. Louis was a 9.2. The figure in L.A. for that "portion of the telecast was 7.3." That follows a trend last season in which the Rams "did poorly in the ratings" in L.A. (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 9/21).