NFL exaggerated Sunday’s Bills-Jags Internet numbers

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When the league first disclosed “33.6 million” in connection with Sunday’s worldwide live stream of the Bills-Jaguars game, the B.S. meter should have begun to blare.

Not long after that, the league reeled back its proclamation of 33.6 million streams to 15.2 million unique viewers for the Yahoo-only (except in Buffalo and Jacksonville) broadcast. But even that number is grossly exaggerated.

Commissioner Roger Goodell said on ESPN Radio that “over 15 million people were viewing the game.” The true number, however, is much lower. Apart from the fact that any calculation of unique visitors includes as multiple people those who dialed up the game from multiple devices (with a viewer who clicked on the game from a computer, a tablet, and a cell phone device counting as three visitors, not one), the apples-to-apples comparison to the way television ratings are determined reveals a much lower audience.

For TV, the key metric has become average viewers per minute. When, for example, a show has an announced audience of 15.2 million, it means that 15.2 million people, on average, were watching the game at any one time. There may have been a lot less, or a lot more, during specific moments of the show, but the show averaged 15 million for its full duration.

The Bills-Jaguars game on Yahoo averaged, according to SportsBusiness Journal, 1.64 million viewers. In contrast (and as noted by Peter King of TheMMQB.com), the Jets-Dolphins game from London, broadcast on CBS in the 9:30 a.m. ET window, had an average audience of 9.86 million. Of course, it’s unclear how Bills-Jaguars would have performed in comparison, especially since the home markets of the Jets-Dolphins game were much larger.

Regardless, the 15.2 million number that was pushed by the NFL doesn’t equate to the numbers publicized by the networks that televise NFL games. The real apples-to-apples comparison is that 1.64 million viewers tuned in for the game.

It’s not bad, but it’s not nearly as great as the NFL and Yahoo would have everyone believe.

Meanwhile, Patriots fans are wearing their shocked faces.

144 responses to “NFL exaggerated Sunday’s Bills-Jags Internet numbers

  1. I can’t say I’m surprised. That said, it was the Bills and Jaguars, so it begs the question as to what kind of ratings that game would have gotten on regular TV.

  2. How can the league continue to lie and keep selling this product with a straight face? They must really think they are above anything and everything. It’s truly disgusting.

  3. I logged on Yahoo just to check my fantasy team and they automatically embedded the video feed onto my page. I didn’t ask for it. It just came up. So should I count as a viewer? I clicked off it within about 30 seconds, once I was done with my lineup.

  4. Can the NFL now admit they have been rigging games in London to make them more interesting?

    Jags have a huge lead, lets make some calls in favor of the bills.

    The same thing happened with the Phins and Jets game.

  5. Does everything have to refer back to the Pats, nobody cares for the chowderheads but the Harvard icebox crew.

  6. Only 1.5 million people watched an NFL game? I don’t believe that for a second. I wonder how well Sports Business Journal pockets were greased to propose that stat by cable loving broadcast networks.

  7. The stream quality was horrible. I was watching in HD and the thing kept buffering and going down to low quality.

    I stream in HD a ton, whether it’s Netflix, etc. and this was a complete disaster.

  8. Raise your hand if you’d rather watch a game on a big screen tv or rather watch it on a small device with choppy coverage.

    Streaming is fine if you have no other option, but is never the preferred method.

  9. Commissioner Roger Goodell said on ESPN Radio that “over 15 million people were viewing the game.”

    The true number, however, is much lower.

    Wow…..Goodell needs to remember that he just ran to federal court to make sure everyone knows Tom Brady was involved with deflating footballs last year….get him on the stand and discuss statements like this…..really shows how big of a “LIAR” he is!!!!

  10. Furthermore, a “hit” means anyone who viewed the game for 3 seconds. So in this case, Chris Johnson had a chance to view the game while he was down and before he started running.

  11. I tried to find it on my phone and couldn’t. Tried for about 5 minutes and gave up because its the Bills-Jags so who cares?

    If they had gone with an actual streaming service like Twitch or YouTube I would have found it in 5 seconds and probably watched the game.

  12. Thank you Mr. Florio. Where it was once considered abhorrent to lie in this country it is now consider ethically justified if you are a company or corporation lying to achieve profits or a politician trying to gain votes to represent corporations who are lying to (see the previous).

    Why can’t the idiots just broadcast the best game available on network TV so their product is accessible to the largest audience at any given time. The seem hell bent on pissing off their customers to the point that we will stop watching.

  13. Actually one better than my previous post. If they had gone with YouTube I would have gotten a notification on my phone I could have tapped and brought straight to the game.

    NFL needs to hire someone smart for this. Not just use old ass owners in committees who look at nothing more than who is offering the most money.

  14. So a game between two losing teams on another continent that came on at 8:30am didn’t get good numbers?

    Shocker.

  15. “Meanwhile, Patriots fans are wearing their shocked faces.”

    Yes, yes we are. We are shocked! SHOCKED I tell you to find out there’s lying and misrepresentation coming out of the bastion of integrity that is 345 Park Ave!

    Oh, and somebody please break out the smelling salts for all the haters that just fainted when they read the league lies like a rug

  16. “It’s not bad, but…”

    No, it’s bad.

    Jets-Dolphins drew 9.86 million on a broadcast network, presumably U.S.-only.

    Yahoo drew 1.64 million…world-wide.

    That’s bad. No buts about it.

  17. Integrity! Telling the truth! This is the core of the NFL and without it, the game we all know and love would die. We would have people wearing the wrong socks and shoes everywhere! The humanity!

    Luckily, we have a man! A man who can be everything the game cannot! He’s not the man we deserve, but he is the man we need (according to himself, in the mirror, every morning). For without him talking all the lies and sloughing off all the integrity, the NFL would drown in corruption.

    He alone is keeping it pure by taking it all upon himself! Praise him! Thank him! Bow before him! He sacrifices his integrity for that of the NFL. He sacrifices his truth so that the NFL might be a shining beacon of honesty!

    He is a man above men! He is:

    Roger Goodell – Steward of Integrity (even if he is lethally allergic to it), Guardian of Truth(even if he misplaced it about 15 years ago and hasn’t seen it since)!

  18. Wait you mean to tell me the NFL lied about something for the very first time? Shame on them! Believe that and i have a bridge to sell you in Manhattan for $26. LMAO

  19. Huh. The NFL telling lies. Who’d a thunk it ?

    Anytime Goodell opens his mouth lies are coming out.

  20. “The seem hell bent on pissing off their customers to the point that we will stop watching.”

    Actually I have by and large stopped watching every game but the Pats. I used to be someone that the NFL was practically a religion for.

    Now I am so disgusted with Goodell and his cronies that I just don’t bother. And guess what, there are an awful lot of other ways to entertain yourself or spend your time on Sundays, Thursday nights, Monday nights etc than watching an NFL game. That’s something the league does not understand at all.

  21. Ok, I have no doubt that that NFL might overestimate the number of people watching the game online, but zero percent chance that a significant number of people bothered to “clicked on the game from a computer, a tablet, and a cell phone device” all at once.

    Nobody wants to see Jags vs. Bills that badly.

  22. I didn’t watch the game. That should scare the NFL into ending this stupid experiment. I get it, you are just trying to get competition into the next broadcast contract. But the infrastructure isn’t ready for this level of streaming. When my Netflix stream drops down in quality for 4 minutes, nobody cares. But to watch an NFL game drop down to SD? Fail.

  23. This, unfortunately, is another example of the NFL only being interested in $$$$$ while fans suffer. The low ratings should have been expected for many reason: 2 terrible teams, start time, limited number of smart TVs etc, etc, etc. But so what, the owners just keep reeling in the $$$$

  24. I guess they counted me as 3 different viewers because I tried my PC, tablet and phone for 10-15 minutes before I gave up looking for a way to actually watch the game. I could hear the announcers describe a made field goal but all I could watch at the time was a still frame of Carpenter preparing to kick. That is when I stopped trying to watch the game.

    If they want to stream the games in the future, then they need to broadcast them as well. My internet connection is not blazing fast but I have watched movies and internet clips with no problems. What I was able to see from this game was a jumbled mess. Either a rotating buffering circle or a still image with live audio. I don’t think I was able to view 2 plays in a row without an issue.

  25. Kinda thought so…..they seemed to be getting higher and higher the more they talked about it. Can’t trust the NFL.

  26. from the NFL appeal:

    It struck at the heart of the game’s integrity and the public’s confidence in the NFL’s on-field product.”
    ——————

    he was just talking about how he said that 36 million people viewed the london game.

    i hope he testifies, his hand me burn when it touches the bible

  27. What exactly does inflating the numbers do for anybody at all? Does it help the NFL with sponsorship? That wouldn’t be possible at this point.

    Lying just for the sake of lying. Why…

  28. Depends on how you count the unique visitors. If you go by IP address, it’s perfectly conceivable that three devices are counted as a single unique visitor (if they’re on the same LAN).

    For the people complaining about stream quality: I had no issues. Didn’t buffer once using a standard cable connection. I could imagine having issues over 4G, though.

    Streaming is the future of entertainment distribution, and live games will eventually start using P2P technologies (like torrents). That should alleviate all bandwidth concerns as long as your link can download fast enough.

  29. I did find it odd when both ESPN and CBS pregame where telling me to turn on the game and watch it on Yahoo.

    Now not so much.

  30. So why do we use this or the Nielsen media ratings to show who watches football?

    Isn’t this making stuff up?

    So much for Sunday Night Football being America’s most watched program.

  31. mikeytoth says:
    Oct 27, 2015 2:12 PM

    How can the league continue to lie and keep selling this product with a straight face? They must really think they are above anything and everything. It’s truly disgusting.
    ——————————–

    Actually they do. They are in Federal Court trying to claim that Federal Labor Laws don’t apply to them, and the commissioner can basically do whatever he wants.

  32. If you have a smart TV with embedded Yahoo, Netflix Youtube Apps, you could watch it on the big screen. This is the way owners want to go. It’s choppy right now, but it will improve.

    Instead of paying network TV channels Billions of $ to “air” these games, leveraging the Internet revolution and all of the content providers that want to compete for a piece of the NFL pie. They will surely be more competitive than the dinosaurs that are CBS and NBC.

    Costs savings for the league, owners and maybe the consumer….LOL…who am I kidding, no savings will be passed down to the little guys. Owners are too greedy

  33. thekingcoleman says:

    Only 1.5 million people watched an NFL game? I don’t believe that for a second.
    _________

    Well if you start with the premise that every fan the Bills and Jags have left was watching that gives you a hardcore base audience of about 50,000 to build off. Then if you add in everyone that believes in the integrity of the league and supports international games that gets you to 50,050 or so. Not sure why you are using the word ‘only’ under the circumstances

  34. I’d like to see how they came up with the number they got.

    I’d imagine a lot of people did try to watch, but streaming still isn’t good enough to work for everyone. Doing a blackout outside of local markets meant people had to rely on the stream, and that’s just not going to work to keep the numbers up.

    On Sundays, I’ll watch the local team play (incidentally, the Jaguars), and then I’ll leave the TV on to listen and catch the occasional glimpse of other games as I do other stuff, like load up a game on the computer to play. If I’m playing a game online, I usually don’t want to be streaming video. Ditto for downloading anything heavy. Streaming will cut into my speed, and, similarly, the other activity will make the streaming experience worse than it already was. I can pull it off a lot of the time, because I pay for really good speeds and have my computer hooked up to my router via Ethernet, but it’s not always ideal, and I imagine most people aren’t paying what I do for Internet and what I shelled out for my router.

    So you have people tuning in and out, as they can, and maybe being frustrated because the quality isn’t there. Yeah, that’s not going to keep the consistent number of eyes on it that a game would where the audience can just load it up on their TV (much easier than the computer or phone) and let it run as they do whatever (which is what I did with the Jets-Dolphins game).

  35. Mike Florio, at least can you add in the minute aspect? how the number of minutes watched to the number of viewers that watched averaged out to 25 mins a viewer. Which for a 3.5 hour football game is not a lot. Seems like most people just checked it out real quick then checked out of it.

  36. My kid was watching the play doh lady make play doh french fries on the ipad and I found that more interesting that clicking over to Jags-Bills.

  37. I called BS on this when the first article dropped with those inflated numbers! I for one didnt know the game could only be seen via the internet. I was searching for it on TV!!!

  38. bbfe says:
    Oct 27, 2015 2:38 PM

    I didn’t watch the game. That should scare the NFL into ending this stupid experiment.
    —————————–

    Lawl. The NFL doesn’t care that you didn’t watch the game.

  39. thekingcoleman says:

    Only 1.5 million people watched an NFL game? I don’t believe that for a second.
    _________

    Well if we start with the premise that every fan the Bills and Jags have left was watching that gives us a hardcore base audience of about 50,000 to build off. Then if you add in everyone that believes in the integrity of the league and supports international games that gets you to 50,050 or so. Hmm, when we start there I am not sure why we would are using the term ‘only’ when talking about 1.5 million…

  40. The inherent flaw of the internet viewing model is they base “viewership” on hits, while TV uses estimate of actual people. I can visit a website 10 times in 10 minutes, and it’s registered as 10 page views, even though it’s all me and maybe I was having some buffering or other connection issues.

  41. Well when you alienate everybody west of the Rockies, if not the mid-western time-zone, your numbers are going to suffer. NFL tends to forget a lot of the people that built their empire.

  42. lolo376 says:Oct 27, 2015 3:00 PM

    Watching the game online was not the problem, it was the 2 teams playing that was hard to watch
    __________________________________
    Yes, because you expect everyone to like YOUR team. Never fails to amaze some of the comments from people, like your team is the only team and everyone is suppose to like it.

  43. “Meanwhile, Patriots fans are wearing their shocked faces.”

    The NFL lied?

    I haven’t been this shocked since Louis discovered there was gambling at Rick’s.

  44. Yet all the people hell bent on seeing Brady suspended are going to gobble up the NFL deflategate claims whole hardheartedly. Despite being proven as flaming liars time after time after time again.

  45. “Instead of paying network TV channels Billions of $ to “air” these games, leveraging the Internet revolution and all of the content providers that want to compete for a piece of the NFL pie. ”

    The NFL isn’t in the business of paying networks to air their games.

    Your business model is upside down.

  46. wow it took till tuesday for ESPN or NBC to start to discredit and marginalize streaming games on the internet through a company like Yahoo.

    i’m sure they’re being as rigorous and objective and forthright reporting this like they did ray rice and peterson last year.

    i mean what could possibly be gained by trying to stop online streaming by 2 tv channels with expensive tv contracts with the nfl?

  47. ilovefoolsball says:
    Oct 27, 2015 2:27 PM

    So a game between two losing teams on another continent that came on at 8:30am didn’t get good numbers?

    Shocker.
    ————————

    it was 6:30 am on the west coast, who’s getting up for that on a sunday?

  48. Goodell’s definition of lying: Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive….but I make 44 million dollars a year as commissioner and even though you fans are the one’s who, in reality, pay my salary, you can’t fire me—so nah, nah!!!

  49. “Meanwhile, Patriots fans are wearing their shocked faces.”

    Do Pats fans really need attention? I suppose so, once Brady and Belicheat are gone they will be back to the basement.

  50. I imagine back, before tv games,

    They’re gonna put football games on TV? That’s crazy talk

    I remember back before indoor games

    That’s for pansies! Football should be played outdoors, by MEN!!

    I remember before instant replay, It’ll make the game longer!
    Before red challenge flags, they’ll challenge every play!

    Before I could spend about 14 hours watching football on a Sunday. I thought the game was entertaining. Since I’m not a fan of either team I’m also not whining about fixed games.

    The stream wasn’t perfect but plenty good enough for a first try. The product will live or die on it’s merits. You don’t like it, don’t watch. For teams it probably sucks only a bit more than a sunday thursday turnaround. Most of these guys are pretty whiny after all.

  51. And the NFL lied again. Time to start looking at the bigger picture and not just at a 24 hour news cycle. Both the NFL and MLB have shown they will do anything, say anything, and tolerate anything in order to raise profits.

    Time to revoke both leagues’ anti-trust exemption status. The exemption allows both leagues to act as monopolies with zero consequences and both leagues have clearly demonstrated that they have no respect for anyone or anything but raising profits and will do whatever they need to do to raise them. Laws and rules mean nothing to these people. They are merely an inconvenience that need to be worked around.

  52. One team is going to lose, here or over there

    If say the Pats & Jets had been in London would the game have been less intense? Ravens Cardinals?

    If pats packers ends 35-38 and lions jags for example ends with the same scoring pattern and final score, why would one be considered less entertaining?

    Some folks have some strange notions about what makes a good game

  53. fauxsoup says:
    Oct 27, 2015 2:52 PM

    For the people complaining about stream quality: I had no issues. Didn’t buffer once using a standard cable connection.
    _____
    I’m right there with you. I’m a Panthers fan so I had no rooting interest, but I checked in just for the novelty of an NFL game on the internet. I didn’t try until the game was in the 4th quarter (ALL London games should ALWAYS be at 1:00 EST, period). I just watched on my phone since Yahoo! is the site for my fantasy league. I think I had 2 buffers that lasted 2 seconds each, also on standard cable broadband. And the 4th quarter turned out to be quite entertaining.

    We all know how the NFL is – they will make internet games difficult and stupidly expensive for the average fan to access – but the concept of games online doesn’t bother me, as I had no problems with this one.

  54. “Time to revoke both leagues’ anti-trust exemption status. ”
    ———————–
    The anti-trust exemption allows them to negotiate a single contract with the networks to broadcast the games. Then, to split the revenue gained equally amongst all teams.
    Without the exemption, say good by to all the small market teams. Say good bye to the salary cap. The big market teams would have a $500MM salary structure, while the small market teams, ie, Green Bay, would have a $5MM structure. Brady and Rodgers would both be playing for Dallas and New England and Green Bay would be bidding for Mallett right now. Is that what you really want?

  55. Is the commissioner of this criminal enterprise Roger Goodell, son of a US senator, or Billy Bulger, Whitey’s brother. Actually, Billy would a much better job.

  56. I watched this webcast in its entirety with no – repeat zero – problems. No buffering, no audio-video sync issues. No trouble at all.

    Clearly, I am special.

  57. “meanwhile, Pats fans are wearing their shocked faces.”
    ===
    As a Giants’ fan, I was wearing my “O” face in 07 and 11.

  58. Every time Goodell opens his mouth, out come the lies…every time. He has turned the NFL into a joke of an organization. Impossible to believe anything they announce about any subject…disgusting.

  59. Goodell thinks he’s Harrison Ford in “Witness” singing to Kelly McGillis but he’s not that smooth.

    Don’t know much about a science book

    Don’t know much about algebra

    Don’t know much about psi

    Don’t know much about average viewers per minute

  60. That’s weird. I watched the game on my TV with Roku and it worked fine. The game was garbage but the telecast was great. I’m sure the broadcast & cable companies had a hand in “deflating” the numbers. They are scared of Internet streaming killing their golden goose.

  61. Does anyone else feel that Fantasy Football is keeping the league alive at this point? Without it, I don’t know a lot of people around me in my circle that care very much about the games anymore. The league has become a big reality show and the games have no flow with all of the challenges and flags nowadays.

    Do we really need a referee to take center stage and make a big production to announce every single flag that is thrown? Why not take something from basketball and do a quick hand gesture and have the PA announcer say what the penalty was while resuming play?

  62. billswillnevermove says: Sep 6, 2015 10:31 PM
    Bills take the AFC East….. Book it… Keep hating on the Biils haters!
    **********************************************
    It’s booked alright, booked forever.

    LOL!

  63. bigsausagepizza12 says:
    Oct 27, 2015 4:12 PM

    “Meanwhile, Patriots fans are wearing their shocked faces.”

    Do Pats fans really need attention? I suppose so, once Brady and Belicheat are gone they will be back to the basement.
    ==============================
    Cause football games can all be won with just a QB and HC. Who needs teammates????

  64. Honestly, was anybody not expecting the NFL to inflate their numbers? Just like they keep inflating the interest of the support for a team overseas.

  65. Godell is the worst commissioner in all of sports – maybe he helps bring in revenues but he’s a lying sack of you know what and is super money hungry.

    And how come no mention of how this game should have been available on TV to NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers but wasn’t?

  66. Beating up the NFL over internet analytics? I would tend to believe web numbers vs. the smokeshow known as Nielsen ratings (for TV).

    As for the user don’t compare Netflix vs. Live Broadcast on the Web. Two different methods of delivery. Netflix is VOD = Video On Demand and loads from a server/CDN (like a YouTube video loading so you can watch). LIVE is delivered from another source to the Server/CDN and then to you. YOUR connection needs to load it in real time. If your internet service provider/network/wireless/browser has an issue the Broadcast can’t help you (and yes, they could even have issues from their end also but I highly doubt a juggernaut like Yahoo would have any). LIVE has many more real time connections that can’t be “helped” by loading/caching aka On Demand Video. Apples and Oranges folks.

  67. This Patriot Football Talk site would have accepted the NFL’s 33M number if the Patriots had played in the game. Cheating is allowed for the Patriots.

  68. Way to go Florio…
    Now you have all of these low info types thinking this is all on the NFL and the Commissioner. I would imagine Goodells people fed him those numbers along with the original inflated ones that came from the provider. It would help if you all read up on what Yahoo counts as a viewer.

    ..and what Barry311 said.

  69. I don’t believe one thing that comes out of Godells mouth or anything from 345 Park Ave for that matter… PROVEN BULL SHYTE!!!

  70. Because nobody cares about Jacksonville or London. Thank god my team doesn’t have to play there.

  71. afancydraft says:
    Oct 27, 2015 2:23 PM
    Thank you Mr. Florio. Where it was once considered abhorrent to lie in this country it is now consider ethically justified if you are a company or corporation lying to achieve profits or a politician trying to gain votes to represent corporations who are lying to (see the previous)……….
    ______________________________
    Roger Goodell often refers to his father’s integrity and how he (Roger) uses his father as a model for his own life. Well that’s a joke. Goodell’s father was unlike most politicians in that he put the issue ahead of his career. Roger, on the other hand, is like fancydraft describes, an abhorrent lier thinking himself to be ethically justified to lie simply because he makes money for the owners.
    It’s time for Goodell to stop lifting up his father as his model in life. The only aspect of his father’s life that he uses is that he would never do as his father did ie Roger would never do the right thing if it meant losing his job. In fact, Roger wouldn’t do the right thing for any reason. His father is spinning in his grave. What a disappointment he has become.

  72. Not everyone has an HD flatscreen TV but they would still have no problems watching a game on TV.

    However, you need a really fast connection to stream this game without buffering issues. Not everyone has a fast connection and the NFL seems to ignore that fact on their attempt to attract millenials.

  73. Could have just asked a Pat`s fan…they know the NFL aren`t any good with numbers. I got that from a “reliable source inside league office`s”. It`s more probable than not that the NFL schemed to “inflate” the numbers as mush as they allow ref`s to over inflated game balls

  74. Maybe, if we had the internet infrastructure similar to one of the third world countries that our money went towards building, this would be a good idea. Unfortunately, our infrastructure for our internet, is about as bad as our roads.

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