Last week, Sports Business Daily reported the local television ratings for all 32 teams' local markets. The league average was a 28.2 local rating, which would mean that for any given NFL team, about 28.2% of people in that market were tuned into the game. That mark is pretty much on par with the previous year.
Cleveland-Akron ranked 9th on the list with a 34.3, which is up significantly from the previous season, when they ranked 14th with a 29.0 rating. In other words, 34.3% of people in the Cleveland-Akron area were tuned into Browns games this past season. The significant increase in viewership can probably be attributed to two factors: the team's strong start to the season (7-4 record), and then during their 0-5 slide to end the year, fans were often tuned in to see what was going on with rookie QB Johnny Manziel.
Here is a list of the Browns' TV ratings for the past four years:
Browns' TV Ratings
The Packers were the No. 1 team overall, with a 45.2 rating. The biggest percentage change in viewership involved the , who saw a 28.1% increase as viewership increased from 21.5 to 27.5. The Browns had the second biggest percentage change in viewership from 2013 to 2014 at 18.5%. The biggest percentage decline involved the Saints, who dropped 17.7% from a league-leading 52.0 in 2013 to a second-place 42.8 in 2014.
Here is how the Browns ranked compared to other teams in the AFC North:
AFC North TV Ratings
Steelers: 5th with 38.2 (0.1% increase from 2013)
Browns: 9th with 34.3 (18.5% increase from 2013)
: 11th with 32.9 (1.3% decline from 2013)
: 12th with 32.3 (4.8% decline from 2013)
The Browns were 4th in the division in 2013 and moved up to second in 2014 despite being the only team in the AFC North to not make the postseason. The fans of Cleveland are starved for any taste of a contending team.