Surprise! Buffalo Bills Score in Nielsen’s New NFL Ratings

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When you look for smart business reporting, you look to the Wall Street Journal. Likely to have been Sergeant Friday’s (“just the facts, ma’am”) favorite 100_3118_Bills_vs_Bengals_300newspaper, the WSJ sets aside all numbers and focuses squarely on cold, hard numbers. So, when this truly national paper of record offers a story (“Dallas Cowboys Are NFL’s Most Popular Team,” Wall Street Journal, September 9, 2010) spelling out how all 32 NFL teams rank in terms of popularity, you can be sure of one thing – no one gets extra points for rabid enthusiasm. It’s all about the bottom-line. And, unlike Forbes, this bottom-line is more than just money, it’s eyeballs. For the first time ever, Neilsen – of the famous TV ratings – ranks the NFL teams by incorporating both TV coverage and internet buzz.

So, where do you figure the Buffalo Bills – perhaps currently the worst team in the NFL – fall in this survey? It shouldn’t shock you Ralph Wilson’s team doesn’t find itself in the top third – that goes primarily to the more established, bigger market, original NFL franchises. But, and this may surprise many, neither does the team dwell in the ooze of the bottom third.

In fact, the Bills reside just short of the middle of the pack. (But not the Green Bay Packers – that venerable team sits in the top 5.)

Wanna know what’s more amazing? The Bills lay immediately behind both the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins – and they are bigger market teams with winning teams! Imagine where the Bills would be if they had a winning record? Could they rank as high as those perennial winners the New England Patriots (#10)?

This all goes to prove a point many have long made – the Greater Western New York region contains its share of hidden gems. With a half-way decent record and at least a couple marketable stars, the Bills could easily land in the top half of the NFL. Pretty good for a “small market” team (more on that in a future week).

If you’ve got an idea for a hidden gem in the Greater Western New York region, please enter it here: It’s a site dedicated to collecting and amplifying all that is good in our community.

And I’ll leave with a secret Nielsen might not want you to know. If you want to help the Buffalo Bills raise their rank, tweet about them, blog about them, start city-based fan clubs on FaceBook and LinkedIn. And keep watching them on TV.

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