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It's Official: NFL Is America's Sport

The overnight ratingsare in. And it’s not good for baseball.

Football
Football

Last night’s Monday Night Football game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans outrated Game 3 of the American League Championship Series between the New York Yankees and the Texas Rangers (7.2 to 6.5).

What does this mean?

It means that baseball is America’s pastime. As in, past its time as America’s top sport.

We’ve known for years that football dominates this country. But last night once again proved it.

Let’s take you through the comparison.

The NFL game on ESPN featured the battle of two 3-2 teams in small markets. It’s a game that only fans and the bettors watch. But you’d suspect the bettors would have even shut off the game at the half when the Titans (2 ½ point favorites) were up 17-0.

Fantasy football watchers giving football the edge, as my friend John Ourand from Sports Business Journal, suggests? Could be. People that own the game’s running backs Maurice Jones-Drew and Chris Johnson want to see how they do – especially because it’s the final game of the week and a good or bad performance could mean a win or a loss. If 23 million people own fantasy football and 20 percent (2 out of 10) own those guys, 4.6 million more people potentially could be watching the game. Even if it’s one-tenth that number – likely a closer number – that’s still 460,000 people watching a game that couldn’t care about the teams or the fact that the Titans won 30-3.

The Major League Baseball game was a playoff game. It involved the New York Yankees and absolute mastery by Rangers pitcher Cliff Lee. It was a 2-0 game heading into the ninth, so it was anyone’s game until the end. New York is not only the largest market, but people love to love them and love to hate them. For what it’s worth, the game – relatively – did well. The overnight rating (6.5) was higher than last year’s ALCS Game 3 between the Yankees and Angels that aired on Fox (6.0).

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Now, let’s get down to the final issue.

Some have suggested to me on Twitter, that it’s not an apples to apples to compare a game on ESPN versus a game on TBS.

That’s simply not true.

While TBS isn’t grouped with the sports channels, it’s a cable network just like ESPN is. And as far as numbers go, TBS in more homes (101.2 million) than ESPN is (99.96 million).

Yes, America’s sport is football. And last night certainly proved it.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com