The NFL could not be happier with how the Divisional round of the playoffs are set up. Two national teams — Packers and Steelers –, two legend quarterbacks — Brady and Manning –, the presumptive MVP going against the back-to-back NFC champion — Cam Newton and the Panthers versus the Seattle Seahawks — and all the games happening on a long holiday weekend. Simply put, the ratings should be through the roof.
Weekends such as the upcoming Divisional round are why the NFL can charge such high television rights fees. Advertisers and marketers have to be giddy at the sheer amount of eyeballs that will be taking in commercials this weekend and the brand exposure it provides. Outside of Kansas City — a team on an 11 game win-streak — and Arizona — a team with an exciting style that played on national TV five times this year — the NFL hits every check mark it would want to that draws in casual fans. Even the matchups with the Chiefs and Cardinals have two of the biggest most well-known opponents available to draw in viewers — Patriots and Packers respectively.
It also comes at a time where there aren’t many other sports options on the television. NCAA football has finished, the NBA is in its mid-season doldrums, the NHL is at the same mid-season lull as the NBA. There is a legitimate chance the Broncos v. Steelers game on Sunday could set viewership records for the second round. Even cord cutters will be able to view the games on CBS which will increase millennial viewership. Say what you want about the NFL over the past year, but it knows how to draw in viewers across multiple demographics. The league just got the extra benefit of the amazing draw of games.
The NFL can seamlessly transition from its Rams to L.A. announcement into playoff football. The league is already at the forefront of everyone’s mind due to the constant news coverage over the past week, and now it is poised to take full advantage.
Michael Colangelo is Managing Editor of The Fields of Green and Assistant Director at the USC Sports Business Institute.