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., 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. owns Fox and Walt Disney Co. 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, was cited by the network. Both companies are based in New York.

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