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The 2002 season represented the fourth consecutive year in which ABC’s NFL Monday Night Football ratings have declined. The difficulty of predicting which teams will be good has made it challenging to put together a schedule of compelling games that will attract an audience. If team success is not a certain predictor, perhaps the behavior of the sports audience can be used as a more efficient variable in the scheduling of games. This study examined the overall national rating of the teams and the TV ratings in each NFL city for the 17 Monday Night Football games in 2002. The findings, as expected, demonstrated that more people of a particular city watched Monday Night Football when the team from that city was playing as compared with when they were not. It was also found, interestingly, that games in which a rival of the home team was playing also drew an audience from the home city.
The author is with the Department of Advertising, School of Communication, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Station A1200, Austin, Texas 78712-0116.