By Eric Schmidt

The NFL is already the most popular television programming in America, all one has to do is look at the ratings of the top 30 most viewed television shows this season, and the NFL owns 28 of them. Only the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the season premiere of NCIS rank in the top 30. This season, the league expanded it’s Thursday night broadcasts, adding five games to their NFL Network and the viewing public responded overwhelmingly.

The NFL Network averaged 6.35 million viewers for each of it’s 13 Thursday night broadcasts this season. According to Adweek, the network saw an 8% increase in the 18-49 age group demographic, pulling in an average 2.6 rating. You would obviously expect to see an increase in viewers, not only because there were more games, but the NFL Network was finally able to reach agreements with cable companies such as Time Warner, which did not previously carry the league’s network.

Adweek reports that there is no long term deal in place with the NFL Network and Thursday night games going forward, and that cable channels such as Turner Sports, NBC Sports Network or Fox Cable could purchase the rights next season. The publication also reports that the NFL Network is on pace for $200 million dollars in ad revenue this season, double their sales last season.

Leading up to the Super Bowl, media outlets report about the average price of a 30-second ad during the Big Game, but just how much are ads sold for during the regular season?

Adweek cites SQAD NetCosts for the following numbers. Fox sells 30-second ads during their late games for the average price of $589,000. NBC sells 30-second ads during their Sunday Night Football for $540,000. CBS comes in at $385,000 on it’s afternoon broadcasts while ESPN collects $340,000 per 30-second spot during Monday Night Football.





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