The conventional wisdom is that Washington is unlike many other East Coast sports cities in fairly obvious ways.
Here’s another piece of evidence: In all 30 NFL markets, the most-watched television show last week involved an NFL game. (The 49ers and Raiders, and Jets and Giants share a market.)
In 27 of those markets, the most-watched television show last week involved the home team’s NFL game. In three markets it didn’t: more people in Jacksonville tuned into the Chiefs-Broncos game than the Jaguars-Colts game, more people in Tampa tuned into the Cowboys-Giants Sunday night game than the Bucs-Panthers game, and more people in the D.C. market watched the Cowboys than the Redskins.
Like, a lot more.
The Cowboys-Giants broadcast on NBC Sunday night earned a 22.2 household rating in the D.C. market, equal to about 524,000 households, according to Nielsen numbers. The Redskins-Eagles broadcast on Fox Sunday afternoon earned just an 18.7 rating, equal to about 441,000 households, according to Nielsen numbers. The local rating for the Redskins game was worse than the local ratings for at least 25 other NFL teams that week, according to an NFL press release.
Now, Washington is an odd city around holiday times, with lots of people emptying out. There are an inordinate number of Dallas and New York fans in this market. The Redskins had nothing to play for that week, while the Cowboys and Giants were battling for the NFC East title. These are all true things.
Still, it’s obvious that in most markets, the home team broadcast still wins. And that Washington isn’t most markets.