The NFL ratings were predictably massive, particularly the 48.5 million who tuned into Sunday’s Green Bay-Dallas game.
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Which is why the ratings for the other playoff game are concerning, and not in the usual way, but in a potentially related way.
An audience of 37.1 million watched the Pittsburgh-Kansas City divisional round game Sunday night (just below Cubs-Indians, higher than Cavs-Warriors).
NBC spun it as the most ever for a primetime divisional round game. That’s in part because it was a good, competitive game. That’s in part because Green Bay-Dallas delivered an immense “lead-in” – different network, but nearly 50 million football fans just a channel change away.
The Steelers-Chiefs was originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. ET kick. The game was moved to 8:20 p.m. ET because of an ice storm that hit Kansas City. The NFL was concerned about fans getting to the stadium and didn’t want to further tax already stressed emergency personnel. It was the right call.
Sunday night delivers ratings, even on a holiday weekend. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” slate of games is annually the No. 1 television show in the country. Primetime works, which is one reason why ESPN is reporting the NFL is already considering putting more playoff games on Sunday night. The league is known to chase the easy gold – and pile it up. So maybe this is the future.
Here’s some unsolicited and sure-to-be-ignored advice to the NFL: Don’t do it.
“Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” Mark Cuban, the billionaire entrepreneur, NBA owner and “Shark Tank” reality-show star said in 2014 about the NFL. “Just watch – when you try to take it too far, people turn the other way. I’m just telling you, when you’ve got a good thing and you get greedy, it always, always, always, always, always turns on you. That’s rule No. 1 of business.”