NFL trumped MLB postseason in TV ratings

According to this Los Angeles Times article, sports dominated the television ratings Sunday night. But NBC, with its telecast of the Washington-Dallas football game, easily topped FOX, which was showing Game 2 of the Detroit-Boston American League Championship Series.

The football game drew 19.6 million viewers and the baseball game drew 8.3 million. That is a better than 2-to-1 edge and a big win for the NFL.

Here are two recent tweets from Darren Rovell, ESPN’s sports business reporter:

* “Redskins-Cowboys SNF drew 13.8 million more viewers than Tigers-Red Sox ALCS Game 2.” (The L.A. Times numbers showed it as less than that.)

* “Patriots-Saints game had a 35.1 TV rating in Boston. Game 2 of the ALCS? 20.6.”

But the ratings news has been positive this October for baseball, as well. Here are some tweets from the Major League Baseball Public Relations twitter feed:

* “Tigers-A’s Game 5 averaged 5.4 million viewers, up +140% over same matchup in 2012, which aired on a Thurs night on TNT.”

* “Through end of LDS, TBS averaging 3.9 million viewers for #Postseason, up +6% over 2012, even w/ 2 fewer Game 5s”.

* “On strength of MLB #Postseason, TBS last week (9/30-10/6) led all cable networks in primetime rating & viewership.”

Maybe it’s not fair to rank one baseball game in a best-of-five or best-of-seven series against an NFL game which is played once a week. But head-to-head, the NFL was king Sunday night.

What does it all mean?

Well, I don’t really know. Someone said MLB games have big local appeal while any NFL game, especially a prime time network telecast, is a national event.

But even locally in Boston - the nation’s seventh-largest TV market - the Patriots’ game ratings topped the Red Sox on Sunday.

I’ve thought for a long time that the NFL has two factors at work that help its ratings big time: gambling and fantasy leagues. I wonder how many viewers of the Washington-Dallas game really had an interest in the game itself - or was it more an interest in an investment or to see if their fantasy running back could get them enough yards to win their game this week?

Is football just a better TV product? You won’t find me saying that and I can’t imagine that is the case for most of you.

But for one night a couple of days ago, a regular season NFL game outdistanced an MLB postseason game and it wasn’t even close.

What is your take on the TV ratings for baseball and the NFL?

McFarland and Joseph notes: Orioles pitcher T.J. McFarland will report by the end of this week to Venezuela and pitch some winter ball for Caribes de Anzoategui. McFarland told me in this interview that he wants to at least exceed the 100 innings total going into next year when he will possibly be moved back into a starting role. He pitched 74 2/3 innings this season for the Orioles.

Meanwhile, O’s minor league catcher Caleb Joseph recently joined Bravos de Margarita in the Venezuelan league and is 5-for-16 in his first four games, with two doubles and two RBIs.

Talking O’s minors: Single-A Delmarva broadcaster Bret Lasky interviewed me to get some thoughts on the O’s minor leagues and ran the interview in two parts on the Shorebirds Web site. Click here to read part 1 and click here to read part 2.

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