Welcome to AA’s NFL local ratings rankings. Every week, we’ll take a look at which teams had the highest TV ratings in their local markets, presented 1-32 and with commentary to help provide context, enjoy.
1. New Orleans (FOX) – 44.2
The Saints were actually down from their opener last year, when they drew a 48.1, but they remain the defending champion here. New Orleans is a mid-level market size-wise at best, but the Saints have as close to a city’s full attention as any in this league.
2. Green Bay (FOX) (Milwaukee market) – 44.0
For first-timers with NFL local ratings, please note that Green Bay does not count among America’s top metered markets, so we use Milwaukee to gauge how the Packers are doing.
3. Denver (NBC) – 43.6
4. Seattle (NBC) – 42.2
5. Indianapolis (NBC) – 39.2
Important to remember with these three teams that primetime games will almost always rate higher than 4:25 p.m. ET games, which will almost always rate higher than 1 p.m. ET games. Though it helps when your team is the defending Super Bowl champion.
6. Pittsburgh (CBS) – 35.4
7. San Diego (ESPN/local affiliate) – 34.7
Something to keep in mind for all ESPN telecasts: local broadcast affiliates (i.e. the ABC/CBS/Fox/NBC/CW stations in each market) are allowed to simulcast every Monday Night Football game. This is also the case for every Thursday Night Football game that CBS doesn’t air.
8. New England (CBS) (Boston market) – 31.2
9. Kansas City (CBS) – 30.8
10. Detroit (ESPN/local affiliate) – 30.6
11. Minnesota (Fox) (Minneapolis-St. Paul market) – 30.4
Minneapolis had one of the larger drops without much explanation. Their opening game in 2013 drew a 35.5 rating.
12. Cincinnati (CBS) – 30.2
13. Chicago (Fox) – 30.0
Chicago is the third-biggest market in America. The fact that they are in the top half of the ratings rankings when these come out is really impressive considering just how many people live there.
t14. Baltimore (CBS) – 29.8
t14. Buffalo (CBS) – 29.8
Buffalo is one of the league’s smallest markets, so a 29.8 in Baltimore is going to mean quite a few more people than a 29.8 in Buffalo. Both of these markets showed sharp declines from last year, though Baltimore played the Thursday night opener.
16. Dallas (Fox) – 29.5
Dallas is another market to look for a decline in local ratings this season. They had the Sunday night opener last year, but that game drew a 36 rating in the market. A blowout loss to San Francisco really hurt them.
17. Philadelphia (CBS) – 29.2
18. Carolina (Charlotte market) (Fox) – 28.3
19. Cleveland (CBS) – 28.0
20. Arizona (Phoenix market) (ESPN/local affiliate) – 27.0
21. Tennessee (Nashville market) (CBS) – 24.4
22. Atlanta (Fox) – 24.1
23. San Francisco (Bay Area market) (Fox) – 23.8
San Francisco’s market is actually comprised of three smaller markets: San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose. They combine to form one of this country’s five biggest TV markets, which means ratings are often lower here than in other places. A 23.8 for an NFL game, you’ll see, is very impressive.
24. Houston (Fox) – 23.5
25. Jacksonville (CBS) – 22.2
26. Washington (Fox) – 21.6
27. Tampa Bay (Fox) – 19.9
28. Miami (CBS) – 17.9
Doesn’t it feel like Miami should have higher NFL ratings? The Dolphins have a pretty decent history, though they’ve been on hard times lately. The Patriots were in town and the Dolphins beat them. What gives?
29. NY Giants (ESPN/local affiliate) – 16.6
New York is the #1 market, and the Monday night game helped, but the Giants don’t usually dominate the Jets quite as much as they did this week, especially considering the Jets are expected to be better.
30. St. Louis (Fox) – 15.1
St. Louis is probably the worst NFL local market there is, because it’s a pretty decent-sized market. Yes, the team is bad. Yes, St. Louis loves the Cardinals. But the fact that St. Louis’ NFL team is only drawing a 15 rating is a bit of a problem.
31. NY Jets (CBS) – 12.4
32. Oakland (Bay Area market) (CBS) – 10.1
Oakland is a team in a massive market that hasn’t been good in more than a decade and doesn’t look to be improving. I’d be interested to see how their games would do with a competitive team, because the 49ers weren’t all that better pre-Harbaugh.