After a much-publicized lockout, never-ending negotiations and endless speculation on the season’s future from every sports network, NBC’s Sunday Night Football pulled through to bring scores of fans “back to football” this season.
This time last year, NBCUniversal was pre-Comcast merger. This football season, however, NBC Sports had six more channels to promote the games, as well as affiliated websites and platforms. Taking advantage of this expansion of properties, E!, The Today Show and local stations ran spots the night the lockout ended, echoing the NFL’s tagline that it was now “Back to Football.”
“I would say the concentration of efforts that was necessitated due to the labor issue into a three- to four-week week run up to the season actually played into our favor,” said John Miller, CMO of NBC Universal Television Group and head of the NBC Sports Agency. “It was a veritable blitzkrieg, a carpet bombing of promos.”
So when the Dallas Cowboys took on the Philadelphia Eagles, both long-standing teams with devoted fans, ratings soared for Sunday Night Football. Playing in the most-watched division on TV with two famous quarterbacks fighting for leadership in the NFC East brought national audiences back into the game.
And ratings have continued steadily through the season, other matchups meeting and surpassing the 20 million viewer mark.