Monday night’s Vikings-Giants game was about as dreadful as the NFL gets. But even a lousy NFL game does better ratings than just about anything else on American television.
The latest demonstration of that fact is pointed out by our friends at Hardball Talk, who note that the Vikings-Giants game on ESPN on Monday night had a higher overnight rating than Game One of the World Series on FOX on Wednesday night. (Vikings-Giants had a 9.5 overnight rating, World Series Game One had a 9.4.)
We’ve basically reached the point where anything the NFL puts on television is going to do great ratings. Major League Baseball, meanwhile, struggles to draw large national audiences, although many individual baseball teams still do very well in their local TV markets.
The strong ratings are cause for celebration from the NFL’s owners, but the recent slate of prime time games doesn’t give NFL fans much to celebrate. We’ve had some nationally televised stinkers this season, and it doesn’t get a lot better with the .500 Panthers visiting the winless Buccaneers tonight. Thursday Night Football generally draws lower ratings than Monday Night Football, and tonight’s Panthers-Bucs broadcast will probably be beaten in the ratings by World Series Game Two.