Despite the last minute juggling of games because of the winter storm that socked the Washington, DC - Philadelphia - New York corridor, or perhaps because of the changes, FOX Sports saw a 9% increase in its overnight ratings over the same week last year. I know that I tuned in to see some cold weather, perhaps snowy, play because that is real football. Perhaps other people felt the same, or it could be they were stuck inside and decided to watch football instead of shoveling snow.
The biggest number impact came from the San Francisco market, where the 49ers - Eagles game went head to head against the Raiders-Broncos on CBS Sports. This turned out to be no contest as Fox came close to tripling CBS on overnight audience numbers (13.9/38 to 4.7/13). So make the score on this one Kenny Albert 1, Gus Johnson 0.
Here is the press release from Fox.
NFL ON FOX DOUBLEHEADER POSTS 9% OVERNIGHT RATINGS INCREASE
East Coast Snowstorm Moves Two Games to Late Window Forcing Regionalization Changes
Severe weather on the east coast made for a chaotic NFL weekend, with the end result being solid ratings for the NFL on FOX's WEEK 15 DOUBLEHEADER.
A massive blizzard forced 1:00 PM games in Philadelphia (vs. SF) and Baltimore (vs. Chicago) to be rescheduled for 4:15, giving FOX two early games and four late games. The NFL on FOX REGIONAL GAME earned an 8.5/17 average household rating/share as the Atlanta-NY Jets game originally assigned to 24% of the U.S. was eventually delivered to 86%, while the Arizona-Detroit audience increased from 3% to 8%.
Later in the day the NFL on FOX NATIONAL GAME earned a 15.1/28. The Green Bay-Pittsburgh game was originally slated to be seen in 90% of the country, ended up in 42%, while Tampa Bay-Seattle switched from 7% to 6%. Scheduled to be seen by 51% of the country at 1:00 PM, the SF-Philadelphia went to 42% at 4:15, and Chicago-Baltimore, also moved from early to late, saw its audience decrease from 16% to 7%. Yesterday’s regional and national games combined to average an 11.8/23, a +9% gain over last year's 10.8/22 for singleheader coverage. Season-to-date FOX is now averaging a 12.7/25 in the metered overnight markets, up +5% over 2008's 12.1/24.
The rescheduling of the Niners-Eagles game made for a rare scenario in San Francisco, where 49ers and Raiders games went head-to-head, with 49ers posting a 13.9/38, nearly tripling the 4.7/13 rating for the Raiders-Broncos game on CBS. This is the third time this year where two local teams have played games head-to-head, the other two instances being Giants-Jets head-to-heads in Week 3 and Week 8.
FOX NFL SUNDAY delivered a 3.4/8 yesterday, a +3% bump over last season's 3.3/8, a solid number given that the re-jiggered schedule provided only two 1:00 PM games as a lead-out. Season-to-date FOX NFL SUNDAY is up +3% in the overnights (3.4/8 vs. 3.3/8).