Indy market near top of NFL in TV ratings

The strength of the Indianapolis market for football has long been debated.
In terms of television ratings this year, Indianapolis is off to a strong start and right up there with the NFL’s leaders.

Sunday’s Colts-Raiders game, which kicked off at 1 p.m. at Lucas Oil Stadium, scored a 38.3 rating in this market, meaning about 411,000 central Indiana households tuned in. Sixty-three percent of televisions that were on at the time were tuned in to the Colts game, which aired on CBS, locally on WISH-TV Channel 8. The rating likely would have been a point or two higher if it had been an away game for the Colts.

Few markets scored higher ratings than Indianapolis last week including Milwaukee (50.8) for the Packers-49ers game, New Orleans (49) for the Falcons-Saints game, Denver (43.7) for the primetime Thursday night game against defending Super Bowl Champs Baltimore, and Washington (38.8) for the Redskins opener against Philadelphia on Monday night.

Football hotbeds like Chicago, Pittsburgh, Dallas and Boston were several rating points behind Indianapolis for their teams' opener. Of course, in some cases, more people in markets with lower ratings watched their team’s game because the size of the market is bigger than Indianapolis. But on a percentage basis, Indy was the better market.

Colts Chief Operating Officer Pete Ward’s synopsis of the Colts game’s ratings in Indianapolis: “Pretty strong football town!”

It was a pretty good week all the way around for the NFL. Three teams garnered record-setting ratings; Washington, Philadelphia (35.1) and Seattle (34.1).

Eight clubs (Indianapolis, Atlanta, Buffalo, Houston, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Washington) posted local ratings increases of at least 20 percent compared to week one last season.

Most of the Florida markets, however, seemed to have fallen somewhat out of love with football. The Tampa market only scored a 20.5 rating for the Buccaneers game against the New York Jets. Miami tallied an 18.1 rating for the Dolphins opener at Cleveland, and the Jacksonville market scored a league-low 17.9 rating  for its season opener against Kansas City.

It’s unclear who will win this Sunday’s game when Miami plays the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. But there’s a pretty good bet Indianapolis will post a better TV rating than Miami.

All ratings numbers are according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research.

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