With all the focus on the Ray Rice story, the debut of the new Thursday night package on CBS and the NFL Network more than doubled last year’s opener for the comparable game on NFL Network.
The Baltimore-Pittsburgh game did a 13.7 overnight rating of major markets, up 108 percent from the 6.6 rating for the New York Jets-New England Thursday night game on NFL Network in 2013.
The NFL hoped to get a much higher rating for the Thursday night games with CBS’ promotional power and larger distribution; the game also was simulcast on NFL Network. The game delivered CBS its best primetime rating since May, 2006.
It is hard to determine how much the Rice saga impacted the rating. However, clearly there was considerable interest with Baltimore playing its first game since it released Rice.
Let’s see what happens next week when CBS does Atlanta at Tampa Bay.