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Browns Experience Ratings Decline Due To Terrible Season

Jason Barrett

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The Browns’ nightmare of a season, in addition to the usual round of firings, resulted in fewer people buying tickets, more no-shows from those who purchased seats and a sizable hit to the local television ratings for the team’s broadcasts.

According to an industry source, the average rating in the Cleveland designated market for the Browns’ 16 regular-season games dropped 11.7% in 2015. Also telling is the ratings drop was most significant for the younger demographic — adults 18-49.

For all adults 18-49, the average rating for Browns broadcasts on WOIO, WJW and WKYC slipped 10.1%. For men 18-49, the drop was 8.4%.

Before we dive into more numbers, a quick caveat: The ratings are still monstrous — a 30.2 average. By comparison, a typical regular-season Cavs broadcast on Fox Sports Ohio generates a 9.3 rating this season. (The ratings norm for the Cavs’ six NBA Finals broadcasts on WEWS last year was 43.7.)

A few more Browns 2015 ratings tidbits:

• The ratings average for 2014, when the Browns were 7-9, was 34.2.

• In the 18-49 demo, the rating dropped from 20.7 in 2014 to 18.6 this season. For men 18-49, the ratings norm decreased from 27.4 to 25.1.

• Ratings in the older demographic — a group that has more vivid memories of good Browns teams — were also down, but the margin wasn’t nearly as steep. The average rating for adults in the 25-54 demo was 23, down 3.8% from a 23.9 norm in 2014. For men 25-54, the average rating slipped only 2%, from 30.6 to 30.

• The most impressive Browns rating numbers: The games that were broadcast on WOIO actually drew more eyeballs in the 25-54 demo. The average WOIO rating for all adults 25-54 increased from 23.2 to 23.9. For men 25-54, the WOIO ratings norm jumped from 29.7 in 2014 to 31.1 in ’15.

Attendance at FirstEnergy Stadium was down 1.8% in 2015. The average crowd of 66,186 was a drop of 1,239 per game from 2014.

The two-year renovation of FES, which was completed prior to the 2015 campaign, decreased capacity at the stadium to about 68,000.

Several games didn’t sell out, and a sizable number of young people chose not to watch the games on TV.

Finally, fiercely loyal Browns fans seem to be getting tired of all the losing.

To read the rest of the article visit Crain’s Cleveland Business where it was originally published

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FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

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The United Football League logo

FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

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Report: WNBA Could Quadruple Media Rights Fees

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion.

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(Illustration) | Courtesy: Women's National Basketball Association

The NBA is reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video expected to be worth a collective $76 billion over the course of the deal. At the same time, the NBA is also negotiating media rights for the WNBA in which it has an ownership stake of approximately 60%. The WNBA could quadruple its annual media rights fee within these negotiations, according to a new report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion. Throughout the season thus far, the WNBA has seen its ratings increase, drawing more than 1 million viewers across several matchups throughout the regular season. Moreover, discussion surrounding the league is further assimilating into the sports vernacular surrounding stars such as Caitlin Clark, A’ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu and Breanna Stewart.

Ben Strauss of The Washington Post outlined how the NBA is in the process of considering one total bid from media companies that combines the value of media rights for the NBA and WNBA. With the league itself determining the value of media rights for the WNBA, he argues that it could either be “rocket fuel” for the league or that its augmented popularity “is more of an afterthought.” The possibility exists that it could be a combination of both extremes as well, but by having the league negotiate its media rights deal, quantifying the true value could be a more difficult task.

In a report from earlier in the year, McCarthy stated that the WNBA is likely to negotiate its own separate media rights deal if it is not receiving the remuneration that it wants. The WNBA attained its most-watched opening month in league history, averaging 1.32 million viewers for games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, Ion and NBA TV. Moreover, the league had its most-attended opening month in its 26-year history with 400,000 fans at games through the end of May and a rise in sales of WNBA-branded merchandise by 236% year-over-year.

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NBA Finals Game 3 Up 2% on ABC and ESPN

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Game 3 of the NBA Finals series which saw Boston take a three games to none lead in the series was up 2% from last year’s Game 3. The game averaged 11,426,000 viewers and peaked at 13,926,000 at 10:45 p.m. ET.

The game was the top draw in all of television for the night and took the top spot in all of the key demographics. So far through three games, the series is even with the television numbers from 2023.

NBA Countdown, the show which airs right before the game begins, was also up two percent compared to the same show a year ago. NBA Countdown averaged 4,330,000 viewers. Through three games, the show is up five percent from last season’s pregame shows.

The Celtics will look to secure their 18th NBA Championship when the two teams meet again for Game 4 tonight at 8:30 ET. If a Game 5 is necessary, it would be played on Monday, June 17.

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