LEADOFF: Higher TV ratings in New Orleans than Atlanta for Falcons game

Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look at Atlanta sports.

The Falcons-Patriots game on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” drew a higher TV rating in New Orleans than in Atlanta. 

According to Nielsen figures provided by NBC Sports, the markets with the four highest ratings for the game were: Boston (38.2), Providence, R.I. (31.2), New Orleans (20.8) and Atlanta (20.6). 

The rating is the percentage of the market’s TV homes watching on average. 

It’s not a surprise that Sunday’s game drew a sharply higher rating in Boston than in Atlanta, but it is a surprise that New Orleans posted a higher rating than the market of one of the participating teams. 

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In Atlanta, the game’s 20.6 rating (equaling an audience of about 497,000 local households) was down sharply from the Falcons’ previous appearance on Sunday Night Football, the Sept. 17 game against Green Bay, which drew a 25.0 rating (603,000 local households). 

Nationally, the Patriots’ 23-7 win over the Falcons registered a 12.6 rating across the metered markets, the highest of any NFL prime-time game since this season’s opening week. 

The other Atlanta teams in action Sunday, Atlanta United and the Hawks, drew low and lower TV ratings, respectively. Atlanta United’s game against Toronto generated a 0.6 rating in the Atlanta market, while the Hawks’ game at Brooklyn netted a 0.4 rating here. Those ratings translate to TV audiences of approximately 14,500 homes for United and 9,700 for the Hawks, out of the 2.41 million homes in the Atlanta market. 

Before Sunday, the previous Atlanta United and Hawks games posted 0.8 ratings (for United’s game at the New York Red Bulls on Oct. 15 and the Hawks’ game at Charlotte on Friday). 

Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan discusses how the offense sputtered against the Patriots. (Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter)


At a team meeting, Georgia football coach Kirby Smart asked any player who had beaten Florida to stand. No one stood. That’s the sobering reality as the Bulldogs prepare for Saturday’s game against the Gators, who have won three in a row against Georgia. See Seth Emerson’s story here.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn held a team meeting on the day after a third consecutive loss. Quinn also plans to alter practices this week to focus on the offense’s problems on third down and in the red zone. See Matt Winkeljohn’s story here.  

One day after Atlanta United broke its own MLS single-game attendance record with 71,874 tickets distributed for Sunday’s regular-season finale against Toronto, the official announcement came that Mercedes-Benz Stadium will host the MLS All-Star Game next summer. See Doug Roberson’s story here

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