The gun sounded on a strong National Football League season for ESPN Dec. 29,
with the total-sports network tackling a 17 percent rise in ratings and a 19
percent advance in delivery.
For the 18-game schedule, ESPN averaged a 7.42 household rating, versus a
6.34 average during the 2001 season, according to Nielsen Media Research data.
Delivery averaged some 6.45 million households compared with 5.4 million the
Led by the Sept. 8 contest between the Houston Texans and the Dallas Cowboys,
which registered a 9.57 rating, ESPN had eight NFL games that averaged an 8.0 or
better, versus only five during the 2000 and 2001 seasons.
Meanwhile, NFL PrimeTime -- the highlights show that serves as a
lead-in to the primetime contests -- posted a 3.5 rating and attracted some 3.04
million homes on average, increases of 7 percent and 9 percent,