ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 documentaries have been reknowned for focusing on certain subjects and bringing out the local angle of each story. For the most part, the documentaries have fared well for ESPN, bringing in about 1.4-1.5 million viewers on average.

Keeping this in mind, let’s look at same of the recent 30 for 30’s dating back to last December both on the national level and how they did in the local markets.Thanks to our Douglas Pucci for the ratings information.

“Four Falls of Buffalo”
Aired December 12, 2015 and focused on the four consecutive Super Bowl appearances by the Buffalo Bills in the 1990’s.

National household rating: 0.97
Total viewers:
1.490 million
Local rating; 8.9

Takeaway: Not surprising this did well in Western New Yori. The four Super Bowl losses are still painful to Bills fans, but the region remains loyal to the players from those teams. In addition, Buffalo is an underrated sports town always leading the local markets in NHL ratings.

“The 85 Bears”
About the Super Bowl XX championship team and aired on February 4, 2016.

National household rating: 0.96
Total viewers: 1.425 million
Local rating: 3.6

Takeaway: The 1985 Bears are still revered in Chicago and the strong local rating is evidence of that.

“This Magic Moment”
Aired on April 14, 2016 and was about the Orlando Magic’s hey-day with Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway.

National household rating: 0.95
Total viewers: 1.509 million
Local rating: 1.0

Takeaway: The local rating isn’t that much higher than the national rating. It’s a surprise to see this not do better.

A look at the long hapless history of Cleveland sports and aired on May 14, 2016.

National household rating: 0.51
Total viewers: 0.844 million
Local rating: 4.1

Takeaway: The national rating is minuscule compared to the previous three 30 for 30’s. Perhaps the title didn’t give much away and didn’t attract fans who might have been interested in the doc. It should have done better against weak competition that night as there were no NBA or NHL Playoff games opposite “Believeland.”

So overall, the inferiority complex among Cleveland fans can extend to 30 for 30 documentaries too.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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