Chiefs vs. Raiders: Ratings increase over last year’s Thursday Night Football

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Alex Smith
OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 19: Alex Smith /

Thursday Night Football ratings were up five percent over last year at this time, a good sign for a sport that could use some positive news.

For those who tuned in to watch an exhilarating and emotional game on Thursday Night between the visiting Kansas City Chiefs and the Oakland Raiders, fans got what they were hoping for and much more with a dramatic conclusion that featured numerous endings to a game that featured numerous lead changes, passionate exchanges and two teams who fiercely hate each other duking it out on the field. Yet even without knowing what the outcome would be—a last-minute 31-30 victory for the Raiders—NFL fans tuned in at a greater rate than the previous week, likely due to the well-established rivalry between the teams.

According to a press release, Thursday Night Football had a five percent increase in viewership over the previous year at this time—another strong rivalry between the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Last night’s broadcast between the NFL Network and CBS averaged a household rating of 8.8 and a share of 15, winning the night outright from all other networks, cable or basic. During the game’s frenzied (and confusing) ending, the share/rating rose to 11.3/23 during the final half hour of the game.

During a season in which the NFL is facing several concerns from media and fans, the announcement of higher ratings should provide a bit of fresh air for NFL owners and executives looking for hope in the face of controversy. Amid the questions around Colin Kaepernick, the tweets from Donald Trump, the alleged boycotting of the sport by several due to players’ behavior or statements about the national anthem, the NFL has been defensive for some time. For a fun, back-and-forth shootout to take center stage made everyone forget the drama long enough to appreciate the in-sport drama and emotion.

NFL staff can only continue to hope that each and every Thursday Night Football match-up is as exciting as this one, beginning next week when the Miami Dolphins head north to Baltimore to play the Ravens in a game with serious implications for the AFC wild card race.