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The Score - Anthony Schoettle

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Sports Business

Colts' TV ratings decline as team misses playoffs

January 13, 2016
KEYWORDS Sports Business

Local television ratings for Indianapolis Colts games dropped 4.2 percent this year compared to a year ago.

The team's weak conference surely didn't help as games against AFC South rivals were some of the least-watched Colts games in central Indiana.

Oddly, a Monday night overtime thriller against then-undefeated Carolina also was one of the least watched Colts games in the market.

Still, Colts games locally earned an average 32.9 rating, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. That means an average of 352,688 central Indiana households tuned in to the games.

That’s down from a 34.3 average—368,125 households—last year, according to Nielsen.

Last year the Colts went 11-5 and made it to the AFC championship game. This year, the team sputtered to an 8-8 season, missing the playoffs.

The highest rated game this year, according to Nielsen, was a week nine victory over the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos. That game scored a 42 rating (450,240 households).

The Colts this year only had one game that registered lower than a 30 rating. A 51-16 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Dec. 13 scored a 27.4 rating, according to Nielsen.

In an increasingly fragmented TV landscape, NFL games continue to be an unparalleled sporting stalwart.

NFL games have accounted for the entire top 25 list of most-watched TV shows since the season kicked off Sept. 10—and 46 of the top 50 shows as well.

Each of the NFL's Sunday television broadcast partners (NBC, CBS, Fox) had higher ratings this season than in 2014. Thursday night games on CBS and the NFL Network were up too. ESPN was the only NFL partner with a decline for game viewership, down for the second straight season for its Monday Night Football games.

The average MNF audience dropped from 13.3 million in 2014 to 12.9 million this season, according to Nielsen.

Sunday Night Football on NBC had an average audience of 22.5 million, NFL games on Fox averaged 20.7 million and NFL games on CBS averaged 19.1 million, according to Nielsen.

The Dallas Cowboys continue to be a huge draw. The top three games in terms of viewership nationally featured the Cowboys.

The highest rated game was Dallas’ Thanksgiving Day game against then-undefeated Carolina with 32.5 million tuning in, according to Nielsen.

The No. 2 most-watched game was the Nov. 1 contest on Fox featuring Dallas and Seattle with an audience of 29.4 million.

The third most-watched game was the Dec. 13 Dallas-Green Bay game on Fox, with an audience of 28.9 million.

Here’s a list of the local ratings for Colts games:

Game 1 – 31.1 Bills
Game 2 – 33.0 Jets
Game 3 – 30.8 Titans
Game 4 – 30.9 Jaguars
Game 5 – 31.9 Texans
Game 6 – 37.9 Patriots
Game 7 – 33.1 Saints
Game 8 – 31.2 Panthers
Game 9 – 42.0 Broncos
Game 10 – 34.0 Falcons
Game 11 – 32.0 Buccaneers
Game 12 – 36.2 Steelers
Game 13 – 27.4 Jaguars
Game 14 – 32.2 Texans
Game 15 – 32.3 Dolphins
Game 16 – 30.4 Titans
 

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