In Week Four of the 2018 season, the Vikings and Rams had an exciting, high-scoring Thursday night game that went down to the final moments. In Week Four of the 2019 season, the Eagles and Packers had a similar experience.
The difference? This year’s game generated an 18-percent increase in viewership.
As apple-to-apple comparisons go, that’s very good news for the NFL: Exciting games, national platforms, exactly 52 weeks apart, and an 18-percent jump in ratings.
Via FOX Sports P.R., the Eagles-Packers game generated an overnight rating of 12, with a share of 23.6. Last year’s game in the same window attracted a 10.7 and 19, respectively. The numbers from Thursday night mean that 12 percent of homes with TVs watched last night’s game, and that 23.6 percent of homes with TVs that actually had the TVs turned on were watching the game.
It was the first Thursday Night Football game of the year televised on broadcast TV, and it represents the best TNF broadcast-package debut since 2015. Which is the year the league’s ratings peaked before politics and other issues caused the numbers to dip.
The momentum gives the NFL a boost as the league prepares to embark on negotiations for its various TV deals. That’s something the league plans to do once the labor deal is finalized.
Which explains why the NFL wants to get the labor deal finalized. By next year, when another presidential election is looming, the TV ratings could take another step backward.