TVB Study: Viewers Prefer to Watch NFL Games on Local Stations

By Kevin Eck 

In the run up to Super Bowl Sunday, TVB has released a study that shows when viewers were given a choice between watching their hometown NFL team on their local broadcast TV station or on a cable network, they overwhelmingly chose local TV.

The study compared ratings for games airing on cable networks ESPN and the NFL network with the simulcast on the team’s local broadcast stations. When ESPN or the NFL network air a national presentation of a game, they are required to provide a live feed to each team’s local broadcast TV partner.

In the 30 markets where a local station simulcast a game airing on a cable network, the local station drew 75 percent more households than the cable outlet.

The top five markets for viewing NFL games on local stations were Milwaukee (Green Bay Packers), Minneapolis (Minnesota Vikings), Cleveland (Cleveland Browns), New Orleans (New Orleans Saints) and St. Louis (St. Louis Rams). Milwaukee’s local TV audience was 351 percent higher on local TV than cable.

Below is a chart showing the teams aired comparing the broadcast audience and the cable audience.