Lies, damn lies, statistics: the extremely weak ratings case for keeping the Rams in St. Louis


The St. Louis Post Dispatch is running a story headlined “Rams have outdrawn some big-name teams in TV ratings” in it they detail the local market ratings for the Rams the past few years. The “big name” teams of course are the New York Giants and New York Jets:


27. Rams, 17.9

28. Tampa Bay, 17.2

29. Miami, 16.9

30. NY Giants, 13.9

31. NY Jets, 11.2

32. Oakland, 10.9

Indeed, in the local market ratings the Rams have out-rated the Jets/Giants. But they absolutely haven’t “outdrawn” the the Jets/Giants. Lots of folks in the media, even in sports media assume that’s a distinction without a difference. Those folks are wrong.

Team% of HomesSize of Market# of homes watching
Giants14% 7,442,270.00 1,034,476
Jets11% 7,442,270.00 833,534
Rams18% 1,226,860.00 219,608

Even in years where the Jets/Giants are good, most teams out-rate them locally as a percentage. That’s just because of math, the diversity of New York and the relatively HUGE size of the New York market compared to other markets.  New York has nearly a 2 million households lead over the second-largest market Los Angeles. It has nearly a 4 million household lead over third-largest Chicago, and has more than a 6 million household lead over St. Louis which is the 22nd-largest market.

The only way St. Louis has “outdrawn” the Jets & Giants is if  220,000 is bigger than 833,000+ or 1.034+ million (spoiler: it isn’t). Even if the Rams moved back to Los Angeles and were dead last with a mere 11% household rating, that would still be nearly 3x the number of households watching in St. Louis.  Even in the worst case, 11% of Los Angeles is still a lot bigger than 18% of St. Louis.

You might not care about that but the NFL does.

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