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Volume 25 No. 84
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NFL Kickoff Sees Lowest Rating Since '08 After Weather Delay

This year's opener peaked at a 14.8 rating between 9:30 and 9:45pm
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

NBC drew a 13.4 overnight rating for the weather-delayed Falcons-Eagles game on Thursday night, marking the lowest-rated NFL Kickoff game since ’08, when Redskins-Giants began at 7:00pm ET to accommodate the Republican National Convention. Falcons-Eagles, which ended after midnight, peaked at a 14.8 rating from 9:30-9:45pm (late in the first quarter). Last year’s Chiefs-Patriots NFL Kickoff drew a 14.6 overnight, and that game had to deal with heavy news network coverage of Hurricane Irma. Two years ago, the Panthers-Broncos opener drew a 16.5 overnight. Philadelphia led all markets for Falcons-Eagles with a 32.9 local rating, followed by New Orleans with a 24.6. Rounding out the top five markets were Atlanta (19.8), Denver (17.5) and Milwaukee (17.3) (Austin Karp, Assistant Managing Editor).

MIXED BAG: CNN MONEY's Frank Pallotta noted ratings experts "offered a mixed outlook" on NFL's season prospects ahead of Thursday's game. Research firm Magna Exec VP/Audience Intelligence & Strategy Brian Hughes said, "We're not anticipating any growth this season." Hughes added that there is a "possibility that the declines will be less severe than in prior years." Former CBS Sports exec Jay Rosenstein said that "injuries to star players" was "another reason for the NFL's sagging numbers." Rosenstein added, "In my opinion, the ratings will go up. I'm not minimizing headwinds like concussions, changing viewing habits and the Anthem controversy, but I think it really comes down to match ups and keeping stars healthy. That's what fans want to see." He added that he "expects a 5% to 10% bump" this season (MONEY.CNN.com, 9/6). THE DAILY also talked to a panel of industry insiders about what ratings could look like this fall.

IT'S NOT EASY BEING GREEN: THE RINGER's Rodger Sherman noted NBC's Green Zone, which appears on-screen during third-down plays, is intended to "help fans see where a first down is." The net is "not eliminating the yellow line, just adding an additional graphic that serves the same purpose." However, Sherman wrote the Green Zone does "absolutely nothing besides tell the audience it’s too stupid to identify the first-down marker with just one on-screen graphic" (THERINGER.com, 9/6). Many Twitter users also had a negative reaction to the innovation. CBSSports.com's Will Brinson: "The Green Zone takes one yard line with humans standing on it and another yard line marked with a giant yellow line and fills a bunch of green grass with more green. It is literally the most redundant thing ever." ESPN's Mike Clay: "Anyone else despise the Green Zone thing? The yellow line is sufficient - we don’t need the field discolored. It’s distracting." DC-based WJKF-FM's Grant Paulsen: "It serves no purpose, makes the screen look cluttered and does nothing to enhance the broadcast visually. Get rid of it." Philadelphia-based WIP-FM's Andrew Porter: "First hot take of the 2018 NFL season: The green zone is horrendous." ESPN's Damien Woody: "I hate that green zone mess already." The Ringer's Bill Simmons: "Can NBC make it seem like the uprights are covered in burning orange flames? I can’t remember where they are on the field." Former NFLer Pat McAfee: "The 'green zone' looks like the grass put on a filter to make itself look better" (TWITTER.com, 9/6).