What to make of the NFL's ratings win over the World Series

It's believed to be the first time it's ever happened, but on Sunday, an NFL regular season game beat a World Series game in the television ratings.

The Steelers and Saints drew an 11.8 rating on NBC, while the Rangers vs. the Giants posted a 10.4 on Fox.

No, it's not because the Simpsons or Cops are a lousy lead-in.

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You want to know why I think it happened? Three main reasons.

Gambling, fantasy football and new October teams.

I know the NFL is a ratings powerhouse and is now considered by just about everyone to be the number one sport in America.

But I would like to know - and we will never find this out by the way - what the ratings would be without gambling and fantasy leagues.

The NFL night games on Sunday and Monday are perfect for gamblers. Some want to make up for their Sunday losses while others try to keep their hot hand going. I don't bet on NFL games, or any sports for that matter, but I know many that do and we can't underestimate its impact on the ratings.

Fantasy leagues, meanwhile, especially in football, seem to have exploded. I don't play those either (yes I am the one) but hear others talk about being in oh, say, two, four, six or even ten leagues.

I don't know how anyone keeps track of all those teams, but they do, and it gives them a reason to watch just about every NFL game.

There is also the fact that this World Series was without Boston or New York. We hear fans all the time say they like to see new teams make it.

But then when we get Texas versus San Fran, instead of the Yankees, it's not exciting enough for some people, and the ratings this year appear pretty dismal.

To me, it's comparing apples and oranges in a sport that plays 162 games versus one that plays 16. Every NFL game is built up all week and is an event itself.

As a baseball-first guy, it bothers me that the NFL beat the World Series in the ratings.

Without those point spreads and fantasy leagues, though, I would like to know what those ratings would have looked like.

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