I am not one that regularly trusts the ratings. That’s due to 20 plus years of dealing with a flawed system in radio as both a sports talk show host and a program director. If you knew how they were compiled you would laugh (but that’s for another column for another time). I hear Nielsen that produces television ratings is just as flawed. However it’s the only system we have so hence we must take the numbers as gospel.
So the overnight ratings of Thursday night’s first round of the NFL Draft were released and they were down. ESPN’s numbers decreased 22 percent from last year while the NFL Network was down 10 percent. ESPN did dominate with a 4.3 to the NFL Network’s 0.9. The NFL then quickly stated that it averaged seven million viewers which is the second most watched first round coverage in history. Well it’s only the second first round broadcast in prime time. The first last year was the most watched with 8.3 million.
Once again though the NFL flexed it’s muscle as the most popular sport nearly doubling the NBA Playoff games on TNT which had 3.6 million viewers.
1. Lockout: Some fans upset over the labor strife decided to stage their own lockout and not watch.
2. Lack of Stars: When your marquee name is a quarterback that’s had off the field issues combined with many projecting him to be a bust, just doesn’t have the star power to create excitement. Now if Stanford’s Andrew Luck would have entered this years draft he probably would have been worth a few thousand extra viewers.
3. ESPN Broadcast: Maybe people are finally tiring of Chris Berman and Mel Kiper. I know I am.
4. NBA: While the NFL dominated the NBA in viewers still 3.6 million were watching Kobe and the playoffs. Take a million of those and the NFL would have matched last year’s numbers.
5. Casey and Michael Scott: Probably the most likely reasons. American Idol and the elimination of Casey (which ticked off my wife and daughters) took the top spot in the ratings as usual. The final episode for Steve Carell on The Office drew a 5.7 rating. I DVR’d The Office so please don’t tell me how it ends. Oh wait, never mind.