Luck-led Colts could eclipse Manning-era TV ratings

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As expectations for this year’s Indianapolis Colts rise, so too do the local television ratings for the team’s games.
They’re considerably higher than they were last year and as momentum builds could even eclipse ratings seen during Peyton Manning’s heyday here. Of course, where the ratings fall the remainder of this season will be heavily dependent on the team’s ability to continue winning. Still it would have been difficult to imagine two years ago that a Colts team led by any other quarterback besides Manning could generate these types of viewership numbers in this market. But Colts second-year signal caller Andrew Luck isn't your ordinary QB.

During the team’s opener against Oakland, the Colts game scored a 38.3 rating in the Indianapolis market. That means about 411,000 central Indiana households tuned in. That’s up considerably from the Colts 2012 season opener, which tallied a 32.3 rating, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research. A nearly 20 percent rating increase is impressive for any TV program, but when the ratings are already sky high, it’s even more impressive.

Week two this year, a loss against Miami, was a 35.4 rating, according to Nielsen. While that’s down a bit from the 2013 opener, a win against Oakland, it’s still up considerably from last year’s week two game, which scored a 32.8 rating.

And when the team played its first 4:25 p.m. kickoff against San Francisco on Sunday, the market watched en masse. Games played later in the afternoon or evening tend to score better ratings than games played earlier in the afternoon, when some folks are out and about. The Colts week three game earned a 39 (overnight) rating, with more than 60 percent of all TV sets on at the time of the game tuned in to watch the Colts beat the defending NFC champion 49ers 27-7.

Next week’s game at Jacksonville could see a slight decline from ratings earned earlier this year. It’s a 1 p.m. kickoff, and unless Jacksonville signs Tim Tebow before Sunday’s game, the Jaguars don’t offer the most compelling storylines.

The next four Colts games after that, however, could be blockbusters. While week five also brings a 1 p.m. kickoff, the game is against NFC powerhouse Seattle.

Then comes a trio of prime-time games. Week six has the Colts playing at San Diego on Monday night.

Week seven is the game everybody is waiting for, a Sunday night match-up at Lucas Oil Stadium against the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos. After a bye week, the Colts come back for another Sunday night game against the division rival Houston Texans.   


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