Pats-Colts Deliver Monster Ratings for NBC

Last night’s much-hyped Patriots-Colts game delivered NBC’s second highest ratings for Sunday Night Football. The only game higher rated than last night was the Cowboys Stadium opener back in NFL Week 2. This is the press release as it hit the Fang’s Bites inbox just minutes ago.


15.1 Rating Trails Only Giants-Cowboys, Which Was Best Overnight For Primetime NFL Game in 11 Years

SNF Powers NBC to Another Sunday Night Win and Again is Top Rated Program of Sunday Night

NEW YORK – Nov. 16, 2009 – Last night's Patriots-Colts thriller on NBC Sports had the second best overnight rating for a "Sunday Night Football" game this season and the best Week 10 overnight in SNF history. The Colts 35-34 come-from-behind victory earned a 15.1 overnight rating and 24 share to power NBC to a Sunday Night victory as SNF again was the top rated program of Sunday night as it has been for eight of nine Sundays.

The rating peaked at a 16.2/24 from 9:30-10 p.m. ET when the Patriots led 24-14 and then dipped to a 14.1/25 at the beginning of the fourth quarter (11:00 p.m. ET) when it seemed the Pats had the game in hand with a 31-14 lead. The rating then grew to a 15.5/30 from 11:30-11:45 when Peyton Manning led the Colts back to win the game 35-34.

SECOND BEST SNF OVERNIGHT RATING THIS YEAR: Last night's game (8:30-11:45 p.m. ET) was the second-highest overnight rating of the season for "Sunday Night Football" trailing only the Week 2 Giants 33-31 victory over the Cowboys in the much-hyped debut of the new Cowboys stadium. That game drew an overnight rating of a 16.5/27, which was the highest overnight rating for an NFL primetime regular-season game in 11 years.

BEST WEEK 10 RATING IN SNF HISTORY: The 15.1/24 rating is the best for a Week 10 matchup, which is in the November sweeps period, in the four-year history of "Sunday Night Football" on NBC, up 22 percent over the Week 10 game last season (Giants-Eagles, 12.4/20) up 19 percent over the Week 10 game in 2007 (Colts-Chargers, 12.7/20), and up 11 percent from the Week 10 game in 2006 (Bears-Giants, 13.6/20).

TIED FOR 4TH BEST EVER ON SNF: The 15.1/24 overnight rating is tied with the 2006 edition of the Pats-Colts "Rivalry of the Decade" for the fourth-best overnight rating in "Sunday Night Football" history.

DOMINATED PRIMETIME: "Sunday Night Football" is the No. 1 program of the night in the metered markets (excludes overruns of NFL day games) for the eighth time in nine Sundays this season on a night that included originals of ABC's Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters, CBS's 60 Minutes and Amazing Race and Fox's Simpsons, Cleveland Show and Family Guy.

Head-to-head from 9-10 p.m., "Sunday Night Football" nearly doubled ABC's Desperate Housewives in the metered markets out-rating Housewives by a margin of 90% (16.0 vs. 8.4 in that hour).

NBC is No. 1 for the night in metered-market households, with the network's highest Sunday average (11.4/18 from 7-11 p.m. ET) since September 20 (Giants-Cowboys game). NBC's margin of victory was 50 percent over second place Fox (11.4 vs. 7.6).

1. 9/20/09, Giants-Cowboys, 16.5/27 (Dallas Cowboys stadium debut)
2. 11/25/07, Eagles-Patriots, 15.6/24
3. 12/14/08, Giants-Cowboys, 15.4/24
T4. 11/15/09, Patriots-Colts, 15.1/24 (Last Night's Game)
T4. 11/5/06, Colts-Patriots, 15.1/22
6. 9/10/06, Colts-Giants, 14.7/23 ("Manning Bowl")
7. 9/21/08, Cowboys-Packers, 14.4/22
8. 11/8/09, Cowboys-Eagles, 14.3/23
T9. 9/9/07, Giants-Cowboys, 13.6/22
T9. 11/12/06, Bears-Giants, 13.6/20

1. Indianapolis, 39.0/53
2. Boston, 35.4/54
3. Providence, 31.9/47
4. New Orleans, 25.6/34
5. Nashville, 24.7/36
6. Las Vegas, 21.5/31
7. Memphis, 20.0/27
8. San Diego, 19.3/30
9. Richmond, 18.3/25
10. West Palm Beach, 18.2/27

**Viewership numbers will be available when national ratings are released tomorrow**

As one would expect, Indy, Boston and Providence were the highest rated markets for the game, but there was a lot of national interest for the contest thanks to NBC’s hype.

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013. He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television. Fang celebrates the three Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.