Why TV Networks Love the Dallas Cowboys

Hard to argue that they aren't still "America's Team."

photo: Ray Bouknight/Flickr
photo: Ray Bouknight/Flickr

Here’s Ad Age on why your Dallas Cowboys — a team that finished a lousy 4-12 last season — are set to have 11 of their 16 games this fall broadcast nationally, including five in primetime:

“America’s Team” last season still managed to reach a massive TV audience. According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, Dallas over the course of its 11 national games averaged 24 million viewers and a 13.5 household rating, making it the No. 2 draw behind the Green Bay Packers. During their own 11-game stretch, Aaron Rodgers and Co. delivered 24.4 million viewers and a 13.8 household rating, offering further evidence that (in the NFL, at least) the size of one’s home market has no bearing on one’s national footprint. (With a reach of just 433,860 TV homes, 68th-ranked Green Bay-Appleton is the NFL’s smallest DMA.)

The meeting of the league’s two biggest ratings dynamos is obviously good for business, and securing a rare rematch of last year’s Cowboys-Packers game was a top priority for Fox. “There really is no such thing as ‘calling dibs’ on a game you want, but we all do make a wish list,” said Mike Mulvihill, senior VP of programming and research, Fox Sports. “Before anything’s 100% set in stone, everyone sits down with [NFL schedule gurus] Howard Katz and Mike North, and we submit our list. Green Bay-Dallas was at the top of our list.”

$765,000 for 30 seconds
Little wonder. While the Packers made short work of an injury-plagued, inexperienced Cowboys squad, the Dec. 13 game was the second highest-rated broadcast of the regular season, delivering a 16.5 rating in the guaranteed household metric. And while Fox’s eight-game late-national package is already the priciest buy on TV — in last summer’s upfront, 30 seconds of airtime in its top-rated “America’s Game of the Week” set advertisers back $689,225 a pop — latecomers who snapped up units in that Dallas-Green Bay showcase invested as much as $765,000 per spot.