Ratings Roundup: NFL, College Football March into Fall Season

NFL Week 3
The Steelers-Colts Sunday Night Football game on NBC put up an average audience of 20.4 million people and a national rating/share of 12.2/19. That was the top program Sunday night and is up 13% and 8%, respectively, from last year (Jets-Dolphins, 18.1 million, 11.3/19). NBC’s four-game average 24.2 million viewers and a 14.5/23 rating/share is up 4% over last year (23.3 million, 14.0/23) for NBC’s opening three weeks of the NFL season, marking the best start in the six-year history of Sunday Night Football. NBC’s Football Night in America is averaging 10.0 million viewers and a household rating of 6.1/10, both up 13% from this point last year.

Anchored by the Green Bay Packers vs. the Chicago Bears in more than 80% of the country, Fox’s Game of the Week on Sunday posted a 14.1/26 household rating/share, with 24.0 million viewers. The telecast was the second highest-rated and second most-watched show of the week behind only CBS’s premiere of Two and a Half Men. FOX’s NFL post-game show, THE OT averaged a 7.1/12 on Sunday, with 12.2 million viewers, up 42% over the 5.0/12 it earned in Week 1.

CBS’s Week 3 NFL singleheader, featuring Jets/Raiders, earned a 12.5 overnight rating on CBS Sunday afternoon — down 11% from last year (DAL/HOU*: 14.0, FOX). This is the third of four NFL telecasts on CBS this season to have a decline in overnight ratings versus last year.

The Cowboys’ only appearance on ESPN’s Monday Night Football this season earned an 11.9 overnight rating, up 3% from last year (GB/CHI: 11.6), and up 5% from 2009 (CAR/DAL: 11.3). The Cowboys win over the Redskins is the highest of the season for Monday Night Football, topping the previous high of 10.3 for Patriots/Dolphins in Week 1.

NCAA College Football Week 4
The No. 2 LSU vs. No. 16 West Virginia Saturday Night Football game earned a 4.0 overnight rating on ABC Saturday, up 4% from last year (OSU/BSU: 3.8). Earlier in the day, regional action featuring No. 7 Oklahoma State vs. No. 8 Texas A&M earned a 3.7, up 19% from last year (UCLA/TEX: 3.1). The first game of the network’s tripleheader, Notre Dame-Pittsburgh, earned a 3.3.

CBS’s 2.6 overnight rating for Saturday’s No. 14 Arkansas vs No. 3 Alabama matchup, was down a whopping 52% from the same matchup last year, when Alabama was ranked No. 1 and Arkansas No. 10 (5.4), but up 18% from the same matchup in 2009 (2.2), when Alabama was No. 3 and Arkansas was unranked.

No. 11 Florida State’s loss to  No. 21 Clemson earned Saturday’s highest college football overnight on ESPN, with a 1.9.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s loss to No. 1 Oklahoma earned a 1.3 overnight on FX, and No. 9 Nebraska taking on Wyoming posted a miniscule 0.3 on Versus.

The overall overnight ratings for all Saturday games are as follows: Central Florida-BYU, 1.6 (ESPN); North Carolina-Georgia Tech, 1.5 (ESPN); Florida State-Clemson, 1.9 (ESPN); Florida-Kentucky, 1.6 (ESPN); USC-Arizona State, 1.8 (ESPN); Eastern Michigan-Penn State, 0.5 (ESPN2); Vanderbilt-South Carolina, 1.0 (ESPN2); Oregon-Arizona, 0.7 (ESPN2); Nebraska-Wyoming, 0.3 (Versus); Missouri-Oklahoma, 1.3 (FX); Notre Dame-Pittsburgh, 3.3 (ABC); Colorado-Ohio State or Oklahoma State-Texas A&M, 3.7 (ABC); LSU-West Virginia, 4.0 (ABC); Alabama-Arkansas, 2.6 (CBS).

CBS, FOX Score with US Open Final, BPL Tape Delayed Match
The final ratings for Novak Djokovic/Rafael Nadal U.S. Open Men’s Final are in and CBS showed a major comeback after a dreary 2010. The rain-delayed match drew a 2.3 final rating and 3.336 million viewers on CBS on Monday, Sept. 12, up 28% in ratings and 35% in viewership from the CBS portion of last year’s final (Nadal/Djokovic: 1.8, 2.466M). The last time the Men’s Final aired in the traditional Sunday afternoon timeslot (2007), the match drew a 3.7 and 5.363 million viewers.

The first installment in Fox’s three taped-delayed Barclays Premier League matches this season was the most watched BPL match ever in the US, with a combined audience of 2,486,000 viewers on FOX Sports, FOX Soccer and FOX Deportes. Manchester United’s 3-1 defeat of Chelsea, which aired on Sunday, Sept. 17 in support of Fox’s NFL Week 2 programming, posted a 1.0 household rating with 1.6 million viewers on Fox. The live telecast earned a 0.4 with 456,000 viewers on FOX Soccer and a 4.2 with 430,000 on FOX Deportes.

The tape delayed match on FOX is second in total audience to this year’s live UEFA Champions League Final, also on FOX and FOX Deportes (4.2 million), and its total audience of 2.5 million eclipsed that of the LIVE 2010 Champions League Final on FOX and FOX Sports en Español (2.2 million for Inter Milan – Bayern Munich) and the 2009 match between Manchester United and Barcelona (2.1 million) on ESPN.

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