More fun with numbers: the Rams in LA effect


Last night’s Rams-49ers game drew a 16.1 overnight rating in Los Angeles i.e. on average 16.1% of the households in the Los Angeles market were watching the game.

All other things being equal, I’d disagree with Mr. Mulvihill (SVP of research for Fox Sports) here because although it’s the number 2 market, LA is 25 percent smaller than the New York City market (5.48 million homes vs 7.35 million homes). So all other things being equal I’d actually expect LA to outperform NYC because the bigger and more diverse the market, the harder it is for any one thing to do well.

All other things aren’t equal though. For starters no matter how bad the Giants are, they are 1-0 and not nearly as god awful bad as the Rams. Add in the fact that the Rams haven’t been an LA team for a while and it’s pretty clear things aren’t quite equal. New York also has two teams in its markets, but soon enough LA probably will, too. Anyway…

Let’s talk about the 16.7 percent for the week 1 Giants-Cowboys game. 16.7% of New York is 1.23 million homes. Of the 210 Nielsen markets only 20 are bigger than 16.7 % of New York. Said another way, 16.7% of NYC is bigger than 100% of 190 of Nielsen’s markets.

16.1% of Los Angeles is around 882,000 homes. 35 Nielsen markets (including NYC & LA) have more than 882,000 homes. Here they are:


OK, back to the Rams. The good news is the 16.1 rating in Los Angeles* for the game was up 28% versus last year’s late opening Monday game (Vikings-49ers) which drew a 12.6 rating in LA. The bad news is that last year LA didn’t have its own team.

*Last night’s 16.1 overnight rating in Los Angeles was made up of 7.2% on the local ABC affiliate (KABC) and 8.9% on ESPN. Last year’s 12.6 was exclusively ESPN. So up 28% was kind of good, especially since in the overnight ratings overall the game was down 25% from last year in the 56 biggest markets (7.1% vs 9.5%) but I don’t think it’s all that much to cheer about since LA had its own team this year. Reasonable people (who aren’t from St. Louis) can disagree.

This article has 3 Comments

  1. “Last night’s 16.1 overnight rating in Los Angeles was made up of 7.2% on the local ABC affiliate (KABC) and 8.9% on ESPN. ”

    I don’t understand. Isn’t ESPN blacked out in the Los Angeles TV market?

  2. No: Monday Night Football is an ESPN exclusive, but ESPN offers the broadcast for syndication simulcast in the local markets of the teams playing (usually, but not always on the local ABC affiliates) so that people who don’t have cable can still watch.

  3. The game received 23.7% viewership in San Francisco compared to only 16.1% in Los Angeles. (The first game drew 41.5% in Pittsburgh and 25% in Washington), That’s an terrible, but un-surprising outcome for the Rams. The Rams’ final season in LA averaged 14%. Like any “grand opening”, I don’t see the Rams beating that 16% with any of their remaining games. I actually anticipate it might get a lot worse than 14% when the Rams play on Sundays (and have competition with other games). I think a lot of that 16% were not Rams fans, but football fans in general who won’t watch the Rams over a national game on Sundays. I’d be real curious to see the ratings if/when the Rams go head to head with the Raiders on a Sunday. I think the Raiders still have a larger fan base in LA.

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