NFL Viewers Prefer Home Games On Stations

A TVB study of Nielsen data finds that in the 30 markets where a regular season game was simultaneously offered on both a local TV station and one of the cable nets, the average household broadcast rating exceeded the cable network rating by 74%.

TVB released an analysis of NFL home-team, regular season viewing that reveals that when viewers had the option of watching their home-team on the local television station or on the ESPN or NFLN cable networks, that NFL fans overwhelmingly favored their local TV station.

In the 30 markets where a regular season game was simultaneously offered on both a local TV station and one of the cable nets, the average household broadcast rating exceeded the cable network rating by 74% (based on a TVB analysis of Nielsen Media Research Household data from Sept. 10-Dec. 22, 2012).

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When cable networks ESPN and NFLN host a nationwide presentation of an NFL football game, they are required to provide a live feed of that game to each team’s respective local TV station partner. Local market simulcasts of home-team NFL games occurred 60 times during the 2012 regular season.  Local TV stations attracted as much as 4.5 times the game day household viewers compared with the cable networks that televised the game at the same time.

The top five markets where NFL household ratings on local TV stations exceeded simulcast games on the cable networks were:

  • Milwaukee/Packers (351% higher TV station ratings than cable)
  • Minneapolis/Vikings (+261%)
  • Cleveland/Browns (+212%)
  • New Orleans/Saints (+212%)
  • St. Louis/Rams (+211%).

The 2013 Super Bowl teams were also favored during the season, ranking 6th and 13th in the analysis: Baltimore/Ravens (+206%) and San Francisco 49ers (+84%).

Brand Connections

“What has more local appeal than watching your hometown NFL team on your hometown TV station?” said Steve Lanzano, president-CEO of TVB. “Local TV stations provide the community insights, flavor and fun that fans crave.  That’s why local TV stations can deliver four times the home-team NFL audiences than cable’s ESPN or NFLN networks.  When it comes to NFL football, local broadcast television provides a significant home team advantage to marketers seeking to optimize the reach of their brand promotion.”


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Overnights, adults 18-49 for November 24, 2015
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Source: Nielsen


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