If there was any thought that the NFL lockout dulled the appetite for televised pro football in this market, last weekend should put an end to that.
The Redskins’ preseason debut against the Pittsburgh Steelers drew a 16.3 rating in the DC market, the highest-rated Skins preseason game in 20 years, according to Nielsen overnight data. That’s roughly equal to 390,000 households for the broadcast, which aired on Comcast SportsNet in HD and on WRC in standard def. The previous high rating for a preseason Skins game was 15.1 for last year’s Ravens game, according to the team.
The game also drew a 3.9 rating and about 39,000 households in the Baltimore TV market, where it appeared only on CSN.
The Ravens, who debuted on Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles, also had a strong showing locally. The team’s Baltimore broadcast, shown in HD on both WBAL and CSN, got a 20.4 rating and 226,000 households, according to Nielsen overnight numbers. The Ravens also got a 7.1 rating and approximately 170,000 households in the D.C. market, where the game appeared on WJLA and CSN, both in HD.
It’s perhaps a tired point, but yes, this means an out-of-market preseason NFL game drew more Washington-area households than virtually any Caps or Nats game in those franchises’ history.
As for comparing the Ravens and Redskins, the former got nearly as many combined households in the two markets (396,000) as the latter (420,000), despite the Washington TV market being about twice as big as Baltimore. On the other hand, the Ravens were playing on a more promising TV night, against the much-hyped Eagles, and they had an over-the-air network partner in Washington, which the Skins lacked in Baltimore.
The two franchises will go head to head this week, with both playing their second preseason game on Friday evening. The Skins’ trip to Indianapolis will be shown on WRC and CSN at 7, while the Ravens’ meeting with the Chiefs will be live on WBAL and WJLA at 7:30, and on delay on CSN at 11:30.