NFL Opening Weekend Rolls Up Twitter TV Ratings Competition

Turns out not even Stand Up To Cancer can stand up to the NFL, at least when it comes to Nielsen’s Twitter TV ratings this past week. Every one of the opening-weekend NFL games in Nielsen’s sports Top 10 outdrew the No. 1 show on the series and specials side, a multi-network event to raise awareness and money to fight cancer.

And it’s not like Stand Up To Cancer was some sort of Andy Hardy hoedown in the barn on the Back 40. The hour-long telethon ran across many broadcast and cable networks Friday night, featuring performances by a host of notable music acts, and raised $109 million, up a whopping $28 million. It’s safe to say the show had plenty of fans.

But it wasn’t as big on Twitter as the NFL. The opening-night game Thursday between defending league champ Seattle and Green Bay drew nearly 1 million tweets that reached more than 8 million people. And there was no chance of U.S. Open tennis or PGA golf or NASCAR racing sneaking into this week’s sports rankings as they did occasionally in August.

Even the fairly unpromising NFL matchup between Chicago and Buffalo generated 283,000 tweets that reached almost 4.4 million people. By contrast, Stand Up reached less than 3.2 million from 121,000 tweets.  We’ll be saying this a lot this fall: NFL is king of all media.

In the Everyone Else category, however, Lifetime’s The Unauthorized Saved By the Bell Story was No. 3, popping through with its tale of the behind-the-scenes dirt of that long-ago family comedy. And MTV’s Finding Carter debuted on the list, at No. 9. List regular Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta generated nearly 1 million tweets, second among any show, and also second in audience among series.  

Nielsen’s ratings count the tweets about a show during and three hours before and after it airs, and the resulting unduplicated audience of people seeing those tweets. They are designed to measure the attention and conversation on Twitter about shows. Here are the week’s charts:

twitter tv ratings series graphic 20140908



As always, Nielsen adds a raft of caveats that we are duty bound to include for the detail-minded sorts. Here they are:

Nielsen Social captures relevant Tweets from three hours before, during and three hours after an episode’s initial broadcast, local time. Unique Audience measures the audience of relevant Tweets ascribed to an episode from when the Tweets were sent until the end of the broadcast day at 5am. Sports Events include those on Broadcast and National Cable Networks only across all day parts. For multicast events, networks are listed alphabetically and metrics reflect the highest Unique Audience across all airing networks, denoted with an asterisk.


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