Magazine article Variety

NFL in Ratings League of Its Own

Magazine article Variety

NFL in Ratings League of Its Own

Article excerpt

Thanks to a 300-pIus channel universe, the Internet, DVDs and other newer media forms, the eyeballs of America are splintered more than ever these days. But there's one thing that brings us all together: the NFL.

The Feb. 5 Super Bowl between the New York Giants and New England Patriots on NBC drew the largest average aud on record for a U.S. program - 111.3 million - marking the seventh straight year of gains for pro football's championship game. When the same teams met four years earlier on Fox, a similarly competitive contest drew 97.4 million.

How big is the NFL these days? Consider that the 111.3 million who watched the Super Bowl is more than the combined authences for the most recent deciding games of baseball's World Series (25.4 million), college football's BCS title game (24.2 million), basketball's NBA Finals (23.9 million), college basketball's NCAA men's championship (20.1 million) and hockey's Stanley Cup Finals (8.5 million).

This came on the heels of the conference championship games that determined the Super Bowl teams averaging a whopping 53.7 million - the most for the penultimate round in 30 years.

Of course, it helps that the sport has never been more competitive, including some nail-biter Super Bowl finishes (unlike a stretch a generation ago when the game more often than not was a blowout). …

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