The Betting Market as a Forecast of Television Ratings for Primetime NFL Football

Television ratings for Sunday and Monday night NFL football are examined using betting market prices as explanatory variables. Primetime broadcasts are shown to respond positively to the win percentages of the teams playing and the expected amount of scoring measured by the betting market total. The point spread, measuring uncertainty of outcome, is found to have a negative, but insignificant effect on ratings. Betting market volume is shown to be influenced by the same factors as ratings, and the residuals of betting volume, known before the game is played, is shown to have a positive and significant effect on ratings.

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