NFL TV Appeal Belies Super Bowl Audience Drop: Chart of the Day

Television viewers have a growing preference for football over other types of programming even though the audience for CBS Inc.’s broadcast of this year’s Super Bowl fell from a record.

As the CHART OF THE DAY shows, the average number of viewers for games broadcast on the CBS, NBC and Fox networks exceeded the average for prime-time shows other than sports by 154 percent last year. The gap widened from 52 percent a decade earlier, according to figures compiled by the National Football League and cited yesterday in a report by RBC Capital Markets.

“Football is an enormous factor” in prime-time rating changes for networks, David Bank, a New York-based analyst at RBC, wrote in the report.

NBC’s ratings climbed to first place among broadcast networks this season from last place a year earlier largely because of the sport, Bank wrote. “Sunday Night Football” on NBC, controlled by Philadelphia-based Comcast Corp. (CMCSA), was the highest-rated series for any day of the week in the November “sweeps” ratings period.

“Sunday Night Football” is the most costly prime-time series for advertisers, according to the report. Bank cited a price of $545,000 for a 30-second spot, exceeding the $341,000 for Fox’s “American Idol” and $331,000 for ABC’s “Modern Family.” News Corp. (NWSA) owns Fox and Walt Disney Co. (DIS) owns ABC.

CBS’s broadcast of the Baltimore Ravens’ 34-31 Super Bowl victory over the San Francisco 49ers was seen by an average of 108.4 million viewers. The figure dropped 2.6 percent from the record audience a year ago, when the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots. The data, from Nielsen Holdings NV (NLSN), was cited by the network. Both companies are based in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Wilson in New York at dwilson@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Nagi at chrisnagi@bloomberg.net

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