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Super Bowl to top off excellent year for NFL’s TV ratings – SportsUntapped.com
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Added January 30th, 2011 by Ian

Super Bowl to top off excellent year for NFL’s TV ratings
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The NFL has been on fire this season according to its excellent showing in the American television ratings. In fact, they haven’t been this good for the past 15 years and it looks like the Super Bowl game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers will help solidify the numbers.

NFL games were shown on three different networks this season, which were Fox, CBS, and NBC. The average viewing audience was 20 million per game. The average audience for the networks’ top prime time shows are usually about 8.2 million people. The football games drew an average audience that was 144 per cent more than top prime time shows. Five years ago, it was only about 60 per cent better.

The American networks spend billions of dollars for long-term deals to show NFL games and they were even surprised at the ratings the league pulled in. Some network officials figure more people may be watching this year because of things such as high-definition televisions and because more people are staying at home due to the economic recession.

The ratings were also good last year, but not this good. Many of the league’s quarterbacks had fine years and there were some side stories, such as Michael Vick and Brett Favre. Also Pittsburgh and Green Bay have huge fan bases and they’ve both made it all the way to the Super Bowl.

However, while the ratings have soared, the NFL has taken a hit in off-field activities as there were several scandals involving the league’s players, such as Favre and Ben Roethlisberger. Favre was accused of sending sex texts to a female employee of the New York Jets back in 2008 and Roethlisberger was accused of sex assault on a college student in the state of Georgia. He wasn’t charged, but the NFL suspended him for four games and Favre was hit with $50,000 fine.

Perhaps the biggest attraction though has been a good product on the field this season or maybe it’s because the fans realize there may not be any football next season if the league sand players’ union can’t agree on a new collective bargaining agreement. If they can’t solve the contract problem there could easily be a player lockout next season.

Broadcasters realize that a lockout could be very damaging to them as fans might find other things to do with their time. The players’ union actually points to the TV ratings and says they prove the league is in good health and doesn’t need to cut back on salaries and other things. It would be sort of ironic if the league’s top television ratings were actually used against it.

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