Local Broadcast Television Scores Big Ratings Win With NFL Playoffs

Viewers Overwhelmingly Prefer NFL on Local Stations Versus Cable

TVB Releases Analysis
of 2015 Wild Card Playoffs and Thursday Night Football Viewership

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–As the NFL playoffs progress on the road to Super Bowl 50 next month,
local broadcast television maintains its home-team advantage with NFL
viewership, remaining the preferred game day medium over cable,
according to a new analysis of NFL ratings from Nielsen data conducted
by the TVB,
the not-for-profit trade association of America’s local broadcast
television industry. The report, NFL
2015: A Local Success
(Again)
also features new
analysis of Thursday Night Football viewership, demonstrating the
power of local broadcast TV to consistently deliver viewers not only for
the post-season, but for regular season games.

TVB President and CEO, Steve
Lanzano
stated, “Game after game and season after season,
ratings data confirms that local broadcast television remains the
preferred outlet for NFL viewership. This year’s Thursday Night
Football
airings were another tremendous win for local affiliate
stations, with local CBS household ratings and male 25-54 ratings as
high as 13 times and 10 times greater, respectively, than viewership on
NFLN. Local television continues to dominate the live sports category
with reach, engagement and influence that remains unrivalled by any
other platform, providing marketers with a unique opportunity to
optimize the results of their brand promotion, especially during the NFL
season when fans and viewers are highly engaged with this immensely
popular programming.”

Post-Season

Last year, ESPN aired their first playoff game, which was also shown on
a broadcast station in the playing teams’ local market. This year, the
NFL had ESPN simulcast their playoff game between the Kansas City Chiefs
and the Houston Texans on the ABC network.

Highlights of the results of TVB’s
analysis
include:

  • When the games aired on both ABC and ESPN:

    • ABC had a 14.8 national HH rating and a 12.2 national male 25-54
      rating compared to ESPN, which averaged a 3.7 national HH rating
      and a 3.1 national male 25-54 rating

      • ABC’s national HH rating was about 4.0 times higher than ESPN’s
    • In Kansas City, ABC (KMBC) had a 45.4 HH rating compared to ESPN,
      which had a 6.6 HH rating

      • KMBC had a 6.9 times higher HH rating than ESPN, a variance of
        588%
    • In Houston, ABC (KTRK) had a 28.2 HH rating, a 20.3 adult 25-54
      rating and a 23.5 male 25-54 rating compared to ESPN, which had a
      4.4 HH rating, a 2.7 adult 25-54 rating and a 3.0 male 25-54 rating

      • KTRK had a 6.4 times higher HH rating than ESPN, a variance of
        541% and also out-delivered ESPN by nearly 652% among adults
        25-54 and nearly 683% among men 25-54
  • For the other playoff games, which aired that weekend on CBS, NBC and
    FOX, the teams’ local broadcast stations averaged a 48.8 HH rating
    compared to a 20.1 national broadcast HH rating, a 143% advantage

Regular Season

CBS and NFLN teamed up for the second consecutive season to air eight
Thursday night games in 2015. The remainder of the Thursday games aired
on NFLN and were simulcast on broadcast television stations in the
primary markets of the participating teams. NFLN also carried two bonus
Saturday night games in weeks 15 and 16 of the NFL season. TVB’s Thursday
Night Football
analysis compares the outperformance of games airing
on broadcast (CBS) over cable (NFLN) for both the 2015 and 2014 seasons.

Highlights of the results of TVB’s
analysis
include:

  • When the games aired on both CBS and NFLN (weeks 2-8 and week 13):

    • CBS nationally averaged a 10.9 HH rating and a 9.2 male 25-54
      rating compared to the NFLN, which averaged a 2.1 HH rating and a
      2.4 male 25-54 rating
    • CBS HH rating increased by 6% in the 2015 season, up to a 10.9
      rating from 10.3 in 2014
    • CBS male 25-54 rating increased by 5% in the 2015 season, up to a
      9.2 rating from 8.8 in 2014
  • Local CBS affiliates averaged a 28.9 HH rating compared to a 3.8 HH
    rating on NFLN, a 661% advantage
  • When CBS affiliates continued to carry the NFLN-only games in the two
    playing teams’ markets during weeks 9-11 and 14-16, viewers continued
    to prefer the local broadcast option:

    • During week 9 in Cincinnati, WKRC delivered a 40.0 HH rating,
      compared to a 4.8 HH rating on NFLN
    • During week 10 in Buffalo, WIVB delivered a 37.7 HH rating,
      compared to a 5.2 rating on NFLN
    • During week 14 in Phoenix, KPHO delivered a 24.8 HH rating,
      compared to a 5.6 rating on NFLN

The full TVB Analysis is available at: http://www.tvb.org/research/2053636/NFL2015.

About TVB:

TVB
is the not-for-profit trade association of America’s local broadcast
television industry.

Contacts

Media:
TVB
Abby Auerbach, 212-891-2279
abby@tvb.org