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Local Nielsen ratings snapshot (Fri.-Sat., Aug. 15-16) -- Cowboys up, but again with an asterisk

@unclebarkycom on Twitter
Saturday night’s second Dallas Cowboys pre-season game, a 37-30 home loss to the Baltimore Ravens, soared in the D-FW Nielsen ratings compared to last year’s Pretend Game 2 against Oakland.

But year-to-year comparisons, as they were with the Cowboys’ Aug. 7th pre-season opener, again are basically meaningless.

Cowboys-Ravens, which ran from 6:09 to 9:26 p.m. on CBS11, averaged 525,496 D-FW viewers. That’s a huge jump from the 316,673 viewers for last year’s second pre-season game against Oakland.

But the 2013 game was played during a Time Warner blackout that affected roughly 400,000 homes in the D-FW viewing area. Also, part of the 2013 Cowboys-Raiders game faced direction competition from the red-hot, playoff-contending Texas Rangers, whose game with the Houston Astros drew 213,410 viewers on TXA21. The CBS11 sister station also was affected by the Time Warner blackout.

The Cowboys-Ravens matchup likewise competed in part against the Rangers. But the injury-ravaged, last-place team’s latest loss -- 5-4 to the Angels -- provided next to no resistance this time around. An average of just 49,709 viewers watched on Fox Sports Southwest. That’s less than one-quarter the audience for last August’s Rangers-Astros matchup against Game 2 of the Cowboys pre-season.

Saturday night’s Cowboys-Ravens game, which marked the return of quarterback Tony Romo, will increase its overall audience when ratings for Telemundo’s Spanish language telecast become available. We hope to add them in on Monday. (Note: the Telemundo ratings in D-FW on Ch. 39 turned out to be basically negligible, with the game averaging just 11,362 total viewers. That brings the grand total for Cowboys-Ravens up to 536,858 viewers.)

Other footnotes of note for the Cowboys-Ravens game:

***The audience peaked at 639,117 total viewers for both the 7 to 7:15 and 7:15 to 7:30 p.m. increments. By the final half-hour, when the Cowboys still had a chance to win or tie the game, the audience had dropped to 497,091 viewers. But that’s still close to the overall average of 525,496 viewers.

***Among advertiser-prized 18-to-49-year-olds, Cowboys-Ravens averaged 188,889 viewers for the entire game. That’s well less than half the audience and remains a cause for concern for both the NFL and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. In comparison, the NBA Finals and the Stanley Cup Finals both had far larger percentages of 18-to-49-year-olds, although the total hockey audience was paltry compared to what the Cowboys draw.

***In accordance with local broadcast restrictions, the Cowboys-Ravens game was blacked out in D-FW on the NFL Network -- except for a smidgen. NFL Net very briefly joined the game in progress and carried about 90 seconds of it, including Romo’s early 22-yard pass completion to Dez Bryant. The picture then abruptly shifted, without explanation, to an in-progress replay of the Patriots-Eagles pre-season game. Someone obviously got their wires crossed.

***The biggest draw opposite the Cowboys, NBC’s two-hour Dateline, averaged 92,317 viewers from 7 to 9 p.m.

Friday’s prime-time parade was led by CBS’ 9 p.m. rerun of Blue Bloods, which drew 156,229 total viewers. The Rangers-Angels game on TXA21 had 71,013 viewers.

Among 18-to-49-year-olds, CBS’ 8 p.m. Hawaii Five-0 led the way with 39,080 viewers. The downtrodden Rangers barely registered with 9,770 viewers in this key demographic. What a difference a year makes is a mega-understatement in this case.

Here are Friday’s local news derby numbers.

NBC5 swept the 10 p.m. competitions, winning in total viewers and 25-to-54-year-olds (the main advertiser target audience for news programming).

Fox4 ran the table at 6 a.m. and added a 6 p.m. win with 25-to-54-year-olds. NBC5 had the most total viewers at both 6 p.m. and 5 p.m.

The 5 p.m. top spot among 25-to-54-year-olds was shared by Fox4 and CBS11.

Email comments or questions to: unclebarky@verizon.net