Johnny Manziel didn’t play well in his first NFL start, but as a ratings draw Johnny Football was a big winner. We are still waiting to see what the Brown/Bengals matchup scored as a rating nationally. High ratings are expected from the nationally televised game, but more interesting is the local rating Manziel garnered in Texas.
Manziel and the Browns vs. Bengals matchup out-rated the Colts vs. Texans game in every major market in Texas except Houston. That means that more people were interested in seeing the former Aggie QB than an in-state team. Browns-Bengals won in the Dallas, San Antonio and Austin markets, even tripling viewership in the Dallas/Fort Worth market.
We’ll see how long people stick around for the Johnny Football show if his play doesn’t improve, but its safe to say people will tune in for the rest of the season. The Browns are still must-see-TV with Manziel at QB, either for the redemption of Johnny Football, or the car crash effect his failure will create.
Michael Colangelo is Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute and Senior Editor of The Fields of Green.