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2010 NFL Preseason Ratings: Year-to-year growth

The NFL preseason is over. Here’s a final update to my recent article on the ratings for the 11 nationally broadcast 2010 NFL preseason games.

Overall the 11 games — NBC (2), CBS (2), FOX (3) and ESPN (4) — averaged a 4.3/8 HH rating/share, 6.91 million viewers and a 2.5/8 A18-49 rating/share. Compared to the year prior, that was an increase of 5% in households (4.1/7), 9% in viewers (6.36M) and 9% among adults 18-49 (2.3/7).

The network breakdown is as follows:

  • NBC – 6.8/12 HH rating/share (+19%), 11.13M viewers (+22%) and a 3.9/11 A18-49 rating/share (+22%)
  • FOX – 4.4/8 HH rating/share (+7%), 7.08M viewers (+12%) and a 2.6/8 A18-49 rating/share (+13%)
  • CBS – 3.8/8 HH rating/share (+12%), 6.19M viewers (+19%) and a 2.0/8 A18-49 rating/share (+18%)
  • ESPN – 3.3/6 HH rating/share (-11%), 5.03M viewers (-9%) and a 2.0/6 A18-49 rating/share (-9%)

ESPN was the only NFL broadcaster that showed a decline this season. That’s because last season the network had the benefit of airing the final nationally broadcast preseason game. That game — Vikings/Texans — was the network’s strongest performer, drawing a 5.2/9 HH rating/share, 7.92M viewers and a 3.0/9 A18-49 rating. This year’s best performer for the network was their telecast between the Colts and Packers which drew a 3.6/7 HH rating/share, 5.73 million viewers and a 2.1/7 A18-49 rating. A big difference.

The most-watched nationally broadcast NFL preseason game this was the Hall of Game game on NBC between the Bengals and Cowboys. It drew a 6.8/12 HH rating/share, 11.44M viewers and a 4.2/12 A18-49 rating/share. That was an increase of 5, 10 and 20 percent, respectively, over the most-watched game last preseason (Bears/Broncos on NBC — 6.5/11 HH rating/share, 10.38M viewers and a 3.5/10 A18-49 rating/share).