Pro Bowl ratings show why NFL is keeping it around

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Despite plenty of talk that the Pro Bowl has become such a joke of an exhibition that the NFL ought to scrap it, the NFL’s version of an all-star game will return once again this season, on the Sunday before the Super Bowl. And anyone who’s wondering why the Pro Bowl stays around just needs to look at the TV ratings.

Sports Media Watch put out a list of the 50 most-watched sporting events of the year so far, and the list shows what a TV ratings juggernaut the NFL is: The Super Bowl is No. 1 by a huge margin, of course, and the rest of the Top 10 consists of nine NFL playoff games.

But what’s really striking is the rating for the Pro Bowl, which drew 12.5 million viewers on NBC on January 29. Yes, that makes it the lowest-rated NFL broadcast of 2012, but that’s still an enormous TV audience. To put the ratings in perspective, the Pro Bowl drew more viewers than the Major League Baseball All-Star game, which is the highest-rated baseball game of the year so far. The Pro Bowl also got better ratings than any hockey game this year, better ratings than all of the NBA conference finals games except Game 7 between the Celtics and Heat, better ratings than the U.S. Olympic gymnastics trials, better ratings than the final round of the U.S. Open and better ratings than a great Sugar Bowl game between Michigan and Virginia Tech.

In other words, the NFL’s dominance over the TV ratings landscape extends even to a game that was so bad that the league’s MVP, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, said some of his fellow players embarrassed themselves. And that makes it easy to see why the league and its TV partners would want to keep the game around.

7 responses to “Pro Bowl ratings show why NFL is keeping it around

  1. Aaraon Rodgers embarrassed himself. What a joke!

    The Pro Bowl got 100x better once he took the sideline and people started playing with a little for energy. Unfortunately, most people stopped watching by then. The game was so much better in the second half.

  2. they really should just scrap the game and have individual competitions: 40 yard dash, QB accuracy, obstacle courses, etc….

    make it a lot more fan friendly letting people walk around and get autographs and what not.

    football is to violent of a sport for an exhibition game especially when the players lively hood/life can be taken away.

  3. my bad guys… ratings are so high because my friends and I all decided to meet up and play a more exciting game of two hand touch football and none of use remembered to turn off our TVs before we left…

  4. “watching the probowl is like watching a practice scrimmage”

    So like a preseason game? Those get good ratings too.

  5. The problem here is the casual NFL casual fan who’s never really watched much football, they tune in to see what it’s about because they don’t know it’s a joke

  6. The Pro Bowl sucks. Nothing but a very expensive mutual admiration society junket for Prima Donnas who put no effort into the game. No thanks.

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