The first Sunday after the Presidential election brought the numbers the National Football League had been hoping for. In the first nine weeks of the season, NFL ratings had fallen across the board. League officials had pointed to the increased interest in the presidential politics as a major reason why TV ratings were down particularly in primetime. And if you lend credence to that theory, then Week 10’s ratings may provide you with some evidence.
The two games in Week 10’s national windows on Sunday not only featured some big guns for the league, but they went down to the wire which helped keep viewers to the end. One of the problems with the first haff of the season was bad matchups in the national window plus choppy play. Yesterday’s games, Dallas at Pittsburgh and Seattle at New England not only were good, they brought higher numbers for Fox and NBC respectively.
Fox’s doubleheader averaged a 14.2 rating. Michael Mulvihill, Fox Sports’ senior vice president for programming noted that the increased ratings will cut its ratings decline from last season significantly:
14.2 average for Week 10 FOX double vs 11.7 for a single last year. Should cut our y-t-d deficit roughly in half when final numbers are in.
— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) November 14, 2016
Even better, Cowboys-Steelers scored a 17.8 overnight rating making it the highest-rated NFL game of the 2016 season.
The Sunday Night Football game in Foxboro which resulted in a Seahawks win gave NBC its best numbers since Week 1 which also happened to feature the Patriots.
— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) November 14, 2016
Last night’s overnight for SNF was 15% better from last year’s Week 10 game which pitted Arizona against Seattle.
This doesn’t mean the season-long slide is over. But yesterday’s numbers do give the NFL’s TV partners a respite from falling numbers. We’ll see if Week 11 can continue to stem the tide or if Week 10’s numbers were just an aberration.