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Chiefs Lead NFL in Local Television Ratings’ Growth This Season

Posted Nov 9, 2017

The Chiefs are seeing levels of success others aren’t in 2017

The Kansas City Chiefs have been one of the NFL’s models of success over the last four-plus seasons under head coach Andy Reid, who has led the team to a regular-season record of 49-24 since joining the organization before the 2013 season. 

Furthermore, the 49 regular-season wins the Chiefs have earned since Reid’s arrival are tied for the third-most in the league over that time, and it’s that kind of sustained success that has helped engage such a passionate fan base over the last few years.

Consequently, the success the team has had on the field has also led to success on the business side, and where it has reflected particularly well this season has been with local television ratings.

Through the first nine weeks of the season, the Chiefs lead the NFL in television growth within their local market year-over-year, increasing local ratings by 16 percent over 2016 averages.

In fact, the Chiefs are just one of only six NFL teams whose local ratings are up year-over-year.

“It’s encouraging to see that the success we’ve seen on the field has translated over to these local TV ratings,” Chiefs’ President Mark Donovan explained. “There are a number of metrics we use to determine how our brand is being viewed and accepted—both locally and nationally—television viewership and engagement is an important one. So, these numbers tell us a lot.”

The ratings have positively affected several aspects of the business, including sales on retail merchandise, ticket sales, ratings for Chiefs’ programming as well as digital and social media metrics.

The ratings growth for those teams doesn’t appear to be strictly tied to on-field performance either. Only two of the six teams whose ratings have increased currently boast a winning record. 

The Chiefs are one as they sit at 6-3, and the other is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who have been one of the league’s surprise teams and currently sit with a 5-3 record. Both teams have seen double-digit increases.

The other teams who have seen increases are the Chicago Bears (3-5), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6), Washington Redskins (4-4), and Cincinnati Bengals (3-5).

In addition to the improved local television ratings, the Chiefs have also seen an increase in ticket sales—a sign that all things are moving in the right direction without one affecting the other.

“We are constantly reminded of the power of our fans” Donovan added. “It’s their passion and love for this team that is the bedrock of our organization, and we have been proud to celebrate that both with our game day experience at ArrowheadStadium, as well the product we’re putting out there for those watching on television with family and friends.”

When the Chiefs’ schedule was announced last spring, there was little doubt as to what the expectation was for the team this year, particularly from those on the outside of the organization.

The Chiefs were given a league-high six primetime games, which is the maximum a team is allowed.

“I personally think it’s a great tribute to the national attractiveness of the Kansas City Chiefs,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell explained of the schedule while visiting Arrowhead last summer. “I’ll tell you, every network talks about broadcasting a game from [Arrowhead] because it’s such a great atmosphere. I can’t emphasize to you enough the importance of how that passion of the fans comes through the television screen.

“We’re a game where that passion is felt through the broadcast and people are like, ‘Wow, that sea of red…it’s just a great setting.”

And so far this season, the television networks and schedule-makers have been rewarded by their faith in what the Chiefs would do this season. 

In fact, the Monday Night Football game at home against the Denver Broncos a couple of weeks ago earned a 46.4 rating, which is the club’s highest combined rating for a Monday night game since at least 2010. That number was also 85 percent higher than the average NFL game’s rating for Week 8 (25.1) in the teams’ home markets.”

Even a couple of the team’s afternoon games—specifically against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Dallas Cowboys—weren’t technically in primetime, but they still had a national audience on CBS.

It’s been a constant opportunity for Chiefs’ fans all over the country to show how engaged they are with this team and what they’re trying to accomplish this season, and they’ve responded in kind. 

The Chiefs have been in the top 5 in ratings in their home market in eight of the nine weeks this year, including three weeks as the No. 1 team.

“The business side of an NFL franchise is directly impacted by performance on the field.  Almost a decade ago we put together a plan that focused on putting the right people in place, empowering them to innovate, investing in technology and stadium amenities, and adopting a strategic approach that capitalizes on winning games, and importantly, creating value for our fans,” Donovan said. “And while we will always search and strive for new and improved ways to engage our fans and promote our brand, the ratings and business metrics we are seeing now is a great testament to our fans support and enormous effort by our team on and off the field.”

“It’s an exciting time to be a part of Chiefs Kingdom, looking forward to continuing this run.”

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