Big Cable may not be listening, but football fans are showing there is a big desire to see NFL Network.
The NFL Network telecast of Green Bay-Dallas earned a 14.6 coverage area rating -– the highest such rating on ad-supported cable since Nov. 1993 (18.1 rating for CNN's Larry King Live: Al Gore-Ross Perot debate) and earned the day's highest rating among men 18-49 (5.9) among all programs on cable and broadcast television. A coverage area rating represents the percent of homes with NFL Network tuning into the telecast.
Online, fans viewed nearly two million live streams of NFL.com Live: Thursday Night Football presented by Sprint coverage, featuring live "look-ins" at :15 and :45 of each hour, select "red zone" possessions and other key moments, during the game broadcast. In terms of fan usage, the NFL.com coverage ranks among the top live events ever on the Internet.
Following is a look at NFL Network ratings and NFL.com Live usage figures:
Thursday Night Football on NFL Network
» 14.6 coverage area rating -– highest rating on ad-supported cable since Nov. 1993.
» Highest-rated program of the evening among men 18-49 (5.9 rating in demo) -– topping all cable and broadcast shows including original episodes of Survivor, My Name is Earl, 30 Rock and ER.
» An average of 10.1 million viewers watched Packers-Cowboys on NFL Network last Thursday more than the combined viewership of cable's next three most-watched shows that night -- No. 2 program Law & Order: Criminal Intent on USA, No. 3 Sponge Bob on Nickelodeon, and No. 4 Hannah Montana on Disney (10.0 million viewers total).
» Compared to other sporting events last Thursday, Packers-Cowboys drew eight million more viewers than Rutgers-Louisville college football on ESPN (2.1 million viewers), and nearly seven times the viewership of Knicks-Celtics on TNT (1.5 million viewers). According to Nielsen, ESPN and TNT reach approximately 96 million homes, more than twice as many homes as NFL Network.
» This TV season, the average of 10.1 million viewers for Packers-Cowboys is the ninth most-watched program on cable, trailing only eight ESPN NFL telecasts, but ahead of TBS' MLB ALDS Yankees-Indians Game 4 (9.2 million viewers), TNT's The Closer season finale (9.2 million), and MTV's Video Music Awards (7.1 million).
» Nearly two million live streams and 250,000 peak users during three-hour game broadcast – comparable to March Madness on Demand, The Masters, and the recent Space Shuttle landing among live Internet events.
» More than 450,000 hours of user consumption during game broadcast.
» Average user visited for 40 minutes.
Fans are making their voices heard loud and clear in many other ways about the demand for NFL Network:
» Several hundred thousand e-mails have been sent to cable companies and elected officials from fans going to www.iwantnflnetwork.com.
» The NFL office in New York has received thousands of phone calls, e-mails, and letters complaining about the lack of access to NFL Network.
» The Kentucky Public Service Commissioner has been "inundated with e-mails from people wanting the NFL Network," according to WKBO-TV (ABC-13) in Bowling Green, Ky.
» Thousands of fans have switched their television providers to those carrying NFL Network at no extra cost (DirecTV, Dish Network, AT&T U-verse, Verizon FiOS, and 240 cable companies around the nation).
This season, for the first time ever, NFL.com and NFL Mobile on Sprint offers fans live online and wireless video coverage of NFL Network games. The live broadband broadcasts, which will continue throughout the NFL Network schedule, cover the game from all angles. NFL.com Live is anchored by a live, originally produced video program, complimented by various interactive applications, giving fans a look at NFL Network games and programming.
NFC playoff contenders Chicago and Washington meet on Thursday night December 6 at 8:00 PM ET on NFL Network's Thursday Night Football. Bryant Gumbel and Cris Collinsworth call the action.
NFL Network's Derrin Horton, Jamie Dukes and Rod Woodson quarterback the live NFL.com video coverage of NFL Network games from the network's Culver City, Calif. studios.