Even with an eventual lockout looming, pro football continues to thrive. TV ratings projections for the 2010 NFL regular season are stellar and expected to be among the highest that the league has ever enjoyed.
NFL regular season TV ratings saw an increase of nine percent in 2009 and are projected to see an increase in total viewership upwards of 15 percent in 2010.
Heading into the 2010 playoffs the NFL captured the attention of 16.6 million viewers on average for regular season games.
That number is a resounding 14 percent higher than the 2009 regular season and the highest total since the 1990 regular season. Up from 55 percent in 2001, NFL games were the highest rated TV show for the entire week in local markets 89 percent of the time.
On the heals of the 2010 playoffs, the much maligned NFL Pro Bowl saw a 40 percent increase in viewership which helped pave the way for a follow-up performance by ESPN and NFL owner-owned, NFL Network in a combined showcase of the NFL Draft this past April. The result was a record 23 million viewers tuning in to watch the first round of college football draft picks shake hands with NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.
The NFL wasn't the only corporation that made unprecedented TV revenue in 2009 as Fox Sports averaged a record 19.1 million viewers during the 2009 season. Fox Sports nationally televised regular season games were the highest rated of in television at an average rating of 11.4.
Jack Thurman of Sports Betting World sees the NFL's win as a win for the betting industry as well. "The more that fans are engaged with the NFL product, the more they'll be betting on games," said Thurman.
On fall and winter Sunday nights, NBC feasted as the number one prime-time television show on TV in all but one of a possible sixteen weeks. NBC's viewership went up 15 percent from the 2008 regular season.
The NFL is the most powerful and lucrative professional sports league in the western hemisphere and all matters of sports peripheries have taken notice. Businesses around the country have hitched their images and advertising campaigns to the NFL. Even with a lockout looming, 2010 could be a banner year for the NFL and its partners.