NFL Rally Continues with Strong Thursday on Fox

National Football League ratings continued to score touchdowns as Thursday night’s game on Fox scored the second-best ratings of the season for the network’s primetime gains.

Fox’s final Thursday night game, with the Los Angeles Chargers winning a shootout with the favored Kansas City Chiefs with a late two-point conversion, drew a 12.4 rating and 22 share in metered markets.

That was up 68% from last year’s matchup in week 15 of the league’s schedule.

The big numbers gave Fox an average for its first season of Thursday Night Football of 10.3/18 in metered markets, up 7% from last year when the games were on CBS and NBC.

Fox outbid CBS and NBC for the rights to TNF and is paying the NFL a reported $3.3 billion over five years--or about $60 million per game.

The other NFL packages have also shown ratings gains this season.

The NFL has long been a TV powerhouse at a time when ratings for other programming is decline, But in the last two years, rating declined because of a number of factors including increases in streaming activity, key players getting injured or retiring, blowout games and the controversy surrounding players protesting police violence during the National Anthem.

Last season the lower viewership led to slightly lower ad revenue for the networks carrying NFL games.

Early this season, ad revenue were again down slights, but revenues were expected to pick up as advertisers recognized the higher viewing and network had more inventory because they wouldn’t have to provide advertisers with make good ads for under-delivery.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.