Big news in Canton spreads quickly


I’m a huge hockey fan and not only of my son’s PeeWee ’98 Wooster (OH) Oilers travel team.  I grew up loving two sports, football and hockey. So, I’m really enjoying the Olympic hockey that’s been on over the past week or so. Next week the National Hockey League resumes play and skates right into the best time of the year for NHL fans. First, it’s the trade deadline that leads into the final push for the playoffs. And, of course the run to the Stanley Cup is as good as it gets for a hockey fan (that is unless the Oilers win the Ohio state tournament next month).

Now, if you’re like most (well, really all) of my co-workers and a good portion of my friends, you’d ridicule my love of hockey. You’d be quick to point out just how low television ratings are for the sport in the U.S. If you really wanted to offend me, you’d only refer to sports “big three” leaving the NHL out in the cold (pun intended).

Wait, don’t stop reading this blog.

It really is about football. Yesterday, something happened that reminds me just how popular my “other” sport really is compared to all the rest. Fortunate for me and my team members at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, our business is centered on the most popular sport in this country, hands down.

Late Wednesday afternoon, in conjunction with the NFL, we announced that the Cincinnati Bengals will be facing the Dallas Cowboys in the 2010 Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, August 8. The news spread in minutes. #NFLPRGuy (who incidentally also happens to be a hockey fan) twittered that there’s only 175 days (now 174) until next season kicks off in Fawcett Stadium.

Of course, we all say we’re excited for the combine and can hardly sleep until the draft comes our way in April. Then, there’s mini-camp to give us a little football to hold us over until training camp.

But, what we really love are the games. So, even though the Hall of Fame Game is only a preseason game, the fans’ collective passion came out in a huge way following the news of our game. Almost instantly, fans started posting comments on and on They offered opinions on the Hall of Fame Game matchup by posting to our Facebook page and the Twitter world was flush with tweets that included @ProFootballHOF.

Yes, the NFL is certainly king of the sports world and enjoyed some of the best television ratings in decades during the past season. Showing just how attractive the NFL is compared to other sports, think about the type of ratings our game receives.

NBC’s broadcast from Canton of the Bills-Titans game last August was the most watched telecast of that week.  The ratings for our game last year was 113% higher than NBA regular season games in the previous season and nearly double that of the NBA playoffs. The overnight rating for our game was 157 percent higher than Major League Baseball’s ratings for Saturday games on FOX during the 2009 season.

As you may have probably guessed, I won’t even compare our ratings to an NHL game!

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