The public’s interest in watching NFL action on television does not appear to be dampened by an ongoing scandal involving domestic abuse by players including former Baltimore Ravens standout Ray Rice, Bloomberg reports.
Viewership figures over the weekend — the third week of the season — held their own compared with week three in 2013, and in some cases were up from last year, the report notes.
The report quotes Brad Adgate, director of research at Horizon Media, saying: “There is a humongous appetite for the NFL and the off-the-field incidents so far haven’t had an impact on ratings. There has been nothing noticeable in the audience delivery of the NFL this year from a year ago.”
Bloomberg adds: “The third Sunday of the NFL season unfolded two days after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell rejected calls to resign while pledging to toughen the league’s personal conduct policy. Some women’s groups continued to call for Goodell’s ouster following his news conference over the handling of the case involving former Baltimore Ravens running back Rice.”
Sunday’s games on CBS, NBC and Fox were seen in 13.15% of homes, on average, in the top 56 TV markets, up 7% from a year ago, the piece reports, citing Nielsen figures.
CBS benefited from an overtime game between the two Super Bowl teams from last February. Seattle topped Denver 26-20 in OT in a game that delivered a 16.9 rating in major markets, up 16% from a 14.6 for the CBS game a year earlier.
Fox and NBC both saw minor downtrends in their NFL coverage. Fox’s regional games averaged a 12.2 in the major markets, Bloomberg reports, down 8.3% from last year. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” game featuring Pittsburgh vs. Carolina delivered a 12.3, off 12% from a week ago — but Bloomberg notes that the week two game featured the larger-market teams Chicago and San Francisco.
“With the New York Jets hosting the Chicago Bears tonight on ESPN, complete Week 3 ratings aren’t available,” the report notes, adding: “Through the first two weeks, the NFL’s games across networks had averaged an 11.2 national rating, up slightly from last season’s 11.15 average rating, according to Nielsen data.”