The Bottom Line: “Baseball is what we were. Football is what we have become.” ~ Washington Post columnist Mary McGrory
The overnight ratings are in and the NFL was as dominant as the Seahawks in a title game.
Nearly 10 million viewers watched the 2014 NFL Draft on ESPN last night according to a story on Variety.com. When combined with the NFL Network simulcast, the Draft drew an 8.7 rating/15 share, a 50 percent gain over 2013 viewership.
The CBS comedy Big Bang Theory won the night with a 9.9 rating, but that show tumbled 18 percent among viewers aged 18 to 49.
Did the later date boost the audience, or was it the suspense of who would Draft Jadeveon Clowney?
Variety casts Johnny Manziel as the culprit. Manziel waited until late into the program for his selection. The league could not have staged that better if they scripted it. Cleveland was the highest-rated local market with a 13 local rating.
Tim Tebow was bigger than Johnny Football when he entered the 2009 NFL Draft. ESPN’s rating was 4.0 for that broadcast. The year 2009 is ancient history when it comes to ratings. Something more than sports personalities is in play.
American Football resonates something cultural about America and it just keeps growing. I suspect the projection of strength, unity, force of will and victory is how Americans see themselves and our place in the World. (I’ll leave the rest for social scientists.)
Super Bowl XLVIII was a Seahawks 43-8 blowout, but it still reached a record rating of 46.4/69 share for a reach of 111 million viewers.
The NFL could be doing more with Draft Night. Cable outlets are limiting viewership. Scheduling Sunday night on a broadcast network with Super Bowl commercials and a half time show by Pharrell could do wonders for league revenue.
Oh it’s coming, folks.