Patriots Wrap Up Record TV Ratings Season

The New England Patriots 14-2 record was the best in the NFL, and tied for their second-best regular season record of all time, but their TV numbers locally set franchise records this season.

The Patriots set a regular season record for household ratings in the Boston market with an average 34.86 household (HH) rating during the 2010 season. The 2010 mark topped the previous record of 33.6 set during the 2007 season, which featured the only 16-0 regular season in NFL history, by more than a whole rating point.

In addition, the Patriots averaged a 61.3 share with 15 of the 16 regular season games drawing more than a 55 share, meaning 55 percent of all televisions in the Boston market that were on during Patriots games were tuned in to the game.

Four of New England’s 16 games rank in the top six all-time for regular season HH ratings in the Boston market with the Patriots-Packers game on Dec. 19 ranking third with a 42.62 HH rating, the Patriots-Jets Monday night game on Dec. 6 ranking fourth with a 42.20 HH rating, the Patriots-Colts Nov. 21 game ranking fifth with a 42.04 HH rating, and the Patriots-Bears Dec. 12 game ranking sixth with a 41.29 HH rating.

Here is a game-by-game chart of the Patriots TV numbers for the 2010 Regular Season:

Less Live Spots from Spring Training on Local TV

The Herald’s Jessica Heslam has a story this morning where she reports on some local TV stations that will be forgoing the customary trips to Red Sox spring training next month due to the economy.

Channel 7 (WHDH) will not be sending anyone down to Fort Myers, while FOX25 may not send sports anchor Butch Stearns, or anyone else.

Channel 4 (WBZ) will be scaling back their live coverage from Florida, while Channel 5 (WCVB) plans on staying consistent with what they’ve done in the past. NECN will also be sending someone down, but it isn’t clear who that will be just yet.

NESN, the TV home of the Red Sox is expanding their coverage this spring, and Comcast SportsNet has big plans as well. They’ve grabbed Lou Merloni from NESN for baseball coverage this season and will also be broadcasting Sports Tonight live (with an audience) from the Pink Shell resort on Fort Myers beach the week of Feb. 16th. The look of their coverage is always distinctive, and different from the other stations which usually just broadcast from the practice field, or at the hotel pool.

For the local TV stations, I think it is a wise move to reduce or eliminate the spring training coverage. The sports segments are already shortened, it can’t make any business sense to spend big money for a couple minutes each night.

For the sports networks like NESN and CSN, it makes more sense to keep going down there because they’re doing entire shows on location, and the return on the investment is much higher, as they can spend more time interviewing players and other guests and give them more airtime than the TV stations are able to do.

Julie Donaldson Out at Channel 7

Boston TV News and The Inside Track are reporting that channel 7 sports reporter Julie Donaldson has resigned, citing personal reasons.

Donaldson’s short tenure at the station has been a rocky one, after dealing with a high profile domestic battery case in which she was the victim.

According to the Track article, Donaldson didn’t file a report from the Patriots/Steelers game two weeks ago, and that is also part of the situation.