Hall of Fame Game generates big TV ratings

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The NFL remains the undisputed king of American television.

Last night’s Hall of Fame Game drew a 6.9 overnight rating, making it by far the most-watched show on any network, and the most-watched NFL preseason game in three years.

To put into perspective how good a 6.9 overnight rating is, here’s a sample of sports programming that has had a lower overnight rating in the last year:

Stanley Cup Final Game 6: 5.6.
NBA Eastern Conference Finals Game 1: 5.6.
NBA Western Conference Finals Game 1: 5.4.
Indy 500: 4.3.
American League Championship Series Game 1: 4.0.
National League Championship Series Game 1: 3.5.

For a meaningless preseason game that the marquee players sat out, the NFL drew more viewers than other sports draw for the biggest events of the year. After an offseason in which Deflategate dominated the headlines, it appears that not only are fans not turned off, but if anything they’re as eager as ever for football to start. Even if that football is just a meaningless preseason game.

73 responses to “Hall of Fame Game generates big TV ratings

  1. The biggest story for the past few months has been about PSI, the league has made it so very important, yet the day after the first showcase of the new season and zero information about the pre game testing( who did it, what type of gauge was used, temps) , half time testing and post game testing of both teams footballs. PFT has done a decent job of providing info along the way, but wouldn’t you want this information,seeing it as an important follow up to what has captured the headlines.

  2. How many minutes do you have to watch to generate a “viewing”? I watched it for 9mins, as im sure millions of others did! Thinking these ratings are skewed a bit!

  3. Steelers got spanked. Starters or not that team proved it is shallow, and the Vikings 4th stringers are better than the Steelers 2nd stringers. No surprise if you follow the Vikings.

    Skol.

  4. saint970 says:
    Aug 10, 2015 12:38 PM
    Maybe because there wasn’t anything better on TV

    Exactly. Americans do not think anything on TV is better than NFL football. It is the penultimate team sport where even the 2nd and 3rd stringers are more interesting to watch than the best of what baseball and basketball has to offer. I can’t wait for this weekend when some teams with better depth take the field!

  5. Hmm…those are some striking numbers for sure.

    I was just into checking out the game last night with the HOF coverage and the Frank Gifford tributes (R.I.P).

    The NFL’s off-season is so long compared to the other sports.

    Even though it was only the first pre-season game, it was a nice reminder that Summer’s days are numbered and the Autumn winds will be blowin’ in…

  6. First NFL game since February competing against virtually nothing else on TV.

    And yes at this point Baseball doesn’t even count.

  7. Roger Goodell has zero impact on the ratings.
    The NFL’s strength comes from:
    #1 the sport
    #2 the marketing machine
    #3 the personalities

  8. I caught the final score with people walking off the field. It was still daylight, I don’t have time for this crap.

  9. realnflfan2015 says:
    Aug 10, 2015 1:00 PM
    It’s always a 5 Star Match Up when the Steelers are in it.

    Were the Steelers “in it”? It looked like they didn’t even show up. Their jerseys made it to the game. But I didn’t see any of the players.

  10. Unlike other sports the NFL does it right
    4 preseason games 16 regular season games and then the playoffs

    Baseball, Basketball and Hockey have long seasons and get stale
    The NFL always leaves you wanting more.

  11. NFL is turning into a reality show. Every time they spoke with a Hall of Famer inductee, They would zoom waaaaaaay in on their eyes just hoping for tears.

    Please stick to the game on the field.

  12. Who would watch that crappy HoF PRE-season game last night?

    Just reiterates that no matter what, the NFL is the king of mediocre on the field play. Really loathe 90% of the “games” now. It’s constant commercials and stop/start micromanagement from coaches etc. Miss pre-2000s NFL. Better game product, defense was still allowed to actually play defense.

    It’s popular like a year round reality show is.

    I still watch, sure, but only for gambling and fantasy gaming purposes 99% of the time.

  13. been waiting 6 months for the season to start …

    tired of YouTubing college games from last season ..

    The NFL season is FINALLY HERE!!!!!

    even if it is the preseason ….

  14. Fake French Accent says:
    Aug 10, 2015 12:53 PM

    Steelers got spanked. Starters or not that team proved it is shallow, and the Vikings 4th stringers are better than the Steelers 2nd stringers. No surprise if you follow the Vikings.

    Skol.
    ———————————————
    I’m a Viking fan and I think your post is downright ignorant. The preseason is not about wins and losses. It’s about getting the players ready for the season as well as evaluating the talent with the hope that no one gets injured. I saw positives and negatives for both teams.

    Vikings: I like what I saw from MyCole Pruitt, Eric Kendricks, Kyle Rudolph, Jabari Price, Brian Peters and Stephon Diggs. I Hope Trae Waynes develops better than he has thus far.

    Steelers: I admit I didn’t pay too much attention to them but I think the two that shined were Ryan Shazier and Dri Archer. I hope Suisham and Stringly are okay.

  15. I think it ‘proves’ Goodell has little effect on how the average fan sees the NFL one way or the other. The only folks that are invested in hating or loving the man are the rabid admirers of the individual teams effected.

    People watched because the wanted to see football after the long drought. That is the only real meaning to be drawn from this.

  16. It proves that people are just cheering for uniforms, like Seinfeld said. The NFL even managed to turn a source of embarrassment – and deflate gate embarrasses every single stakeholder involved – into a marketing tool. When you can do that, you are riding high baby. But the higher up you get the further you fall. Just a matter of when.

  17. kenchun24 says:
    Aug 10, 2015 1:34 PM
    Who would watch that crappy HoF PRE-season game last night?

    Just reiterates that no matter what, the NFL is the king of mediocre on the field play. Really loathe 90% of the “games” now. It’s constant commercials and stop/start micromanagement from coaches etc.
    ——————
    The game lasts literally about 5-10 minutes longer than it did in the “glory days”. It’s the same game, only faster and harder hitting. And it is still great!

  18. What the heck is wrong with people? I’m much more of a football fan than a baseball fan – yet I could watch only about 20 minutes of the HOF game – boring and who really cares, except for Steelers and Vikings fans? The Sunday night baseball game, Pirates vs. Dodgers, was much more fun to watch, more exciting, some great plays, etc.

  19. Steelers got spanked. Starters or not that team proved it is shallow, and the Vikings 4th stringers are better than the Steelers 2nd stringers. No surprise if you follow the Vikings.

    Skol.
    ——————————————————————–
    too bad the steelers 1st stringers are much better than the vikings 1st stringers though. You know, the ones that play during the regular season.

  20. That rating right there goes to show you how much people love football. A couple of factors I think are they really missed it, Steelers fans are a huge and loyal fan base, and fans wanted to see a game instead of all of the other things we have to hear about the NFL.

  21. I watched it because I had the Under 34.5 in the game. Like stealing candy. Shhh, don’t tell the Commish!

  22. I honestly was surprised (in a good way) at the quality of that game. Both teams seemed well prepared (especially the Vikings), with no more than the typical number of mistakes (and those being made largely by rookies as could only be expected). The teams played as if the games actually mattered to them, and the amount of penalties was reasonable. The extended-length extra points are still hard for me to swallow but that is what it is.

    Put another way… given the choice between Sunday night’s game and any of the Pro Bowls played the last five years, I would watch Sunday night’s game 10 times out of 10.

  23. conormacleod says:
    Aug 10, 2015 3:10 PM

    I wonder if the many commenters here realize that the Vikings won the game, and that the Steelers scored 3 points?
    ==================================

    Intelligent football fans don’t care. The final score doesn’t matter in preseason. If it did, you probably would have seen Ben Roethlisberger play 4 quarters rather than Landry Jones, among other things.

  24. conormacleod says:
    Aug 10, 2015 3:09 PM

    kenchun24 says:
    Aug 10, 2015 1:34 PM
    Who would watch that crappy HoF PRE-season game last night?

    Just reiterates that no matter what, the NFL is the king of mediocre on the field play. Really loathe 90% of the “games” now. It’s constant commercials and stop/start micromanagement from coaches etc.
    ——————
    The game lasts literally about 5-10 minutes longer than it did in the “glory days”. It’s the same game, only faster and harder hitting. And it is still great!

    ——————————————–

    I saw you conveniently left out my “defense isn’t allowed to be played anymore” comment (thanks to Manning & Brady) lol. A big part of this watered down arcadey modern NFL game.

    Wrong. It’s passable. It’s not great, it WAS great now it’s barely watchable. But because of it’s perceived short season it gets hyped to infinity via constant advertising from the US Military to Play Now to networks and fantasy sports etc etc. Plus yearly crappy and uninspired Madden releases from lazy EA Tiburon (right Florio!?)…

    Yes, it will still get ratings no doubt but several issues still loom…

    #1 – Parity is a joke. Same damn teams every year in the playoffs.

    #2 – Why? Not enough developed QB’s from college and FAR too many hurried busts with no NFL Europe post college system to hone their craft. It’s 20-80 right now and true parity between the 32 teams would require more than the usual suspect QB’s since 2000 playing at a high level for at least 18 teams – to establish a 50-50 paruty level.

    #3- Over exposed for the players and the game itself. The every Thursday Night Football change instead of TNF in 2015 past the former midseason mark was TERRIBLE. So many crappy games from TNF last year. Really bad football…and really bad for the players/teams schedule.

    Like I said I’m only glued for the gambling/fabtasy play – but I rarely watch full games anymore – only the prime matchups – too much crappy play crappy teams and predictable “Same ol’ same ol’ ” outcomes come postseason time…Cuban is right IMO.

  25. People tuned in to see if anything stupid would happen.
    And it did, times 2.

    Jeff Reed, former steeler kicker.
    You might have had a job this week.

  26. Surprise, Surprise! That’s what happens when the greatest franchise in the history of organized sports with the largest fanbase on planet Earth is playing in the game.

    – The Nation.

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