The ratings for the Browns-Cincinnati Bengals game Sunday should squelch any argument as to which sports team owns Northeast Ohio.

The game generated a 27.5 rating and 56 share in Northeast Ohio, according to information provided by CBS. That 56 share means that more than half the available audience watching television during that 1 to 4 p.m. window was watching the Browns. Given the intrigue surrounding local hero Brian Hoyer, a Cleveland St. Ignatius graduate who appears to have grabbed a starting gig for an extended period of time, thatís not a surprise.

But thereís little for the Indians to be disappointed about. They pulled an 8.55 rating over the average of their telecast from 2 to about 5 p.m. in which they clinched the top American League wild-card spot. The broadcast peaked at a 14 rating at spots during the game.

Ultimately, does any of this matter? To the dollars-and-cents guys, sure. Itís a money thing, but hereís the reality of sports in Northeast Ohio this past weekend.

The Indians are going to the playoffs for the first time since 2007 after General Manager Chris Antonetti brought in the right players and manager Terry Francona, who has the right temperament to lead them.

The Browns, now 2-2, sit atop the AFC North in a three-way tie and given the defense that Ray Horton put together, which is terrorizing running backs and quarterbacks, there might be reason to hope that this team can do better than 5-11.

Add to the mix the unlikely success (so far) story of Hoyer, who has played decently in two starts, and as far as the rushing attack goes (not that the Browns actually have one), the Trent Richardson trade doesnít appear to have hurt them thus far. The season could be fun.

Ohio State also beat Wisconsin on Saturday night. For one glorious weekend it was good to be a fan in Northeast Ohio if you support all of those teams.

But wait. Thereís more. The Baltimore Ravens and Pittsburgh Steelers lost.

No, ratings did not matter this weekend. It doesnít matter if itís a Browns town or a Tribe town.

Weíll be seeing a lot less black and gold around these parts. Yes, thatís a good thing.

The money men

Ratings donít matter to fans right now, but the reality is a bottom line exists here, and it involves profitability and paying bills. Fox Sports recently made an investment when it bought SportsTime Ohio, flagship station of the Tribe, last winter. Fox Sports invested at the right time, considering the Indians are lifting that regional sports channel.

The final week of the season produced the best ratings for the Tribe on SportsTime Ohio, earning a 9.3 rating for the five games, according to numbers provided by a spokeswoman for the station. Those games reached the top 11 of those aired this season. Sundayís game was the seventh-best number of the year.

That success spilled over to the Tribeís postgame show as well as it held on to 84 percent of the gameís audience.

Overall, ratings for the Indians were up 45 percent for the season.


Keith Olbermann will take a hiatus from his ESPN2 talk show, which airs at 11 p.m. weeknights, to fulfill his duties as in-studio host for Turner Sports postseason baseball coverage, beginning today with the National League wild-card game between the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates. Mark DeRosa, Dirk Hayhurst, Pedro Martinez and Tom Verducci will join him.

Announcers for the Reds-Pirates game: Ernie Johnson (play-by-play), Ron Darling and Cal Ripken (analysts) with Craig Sager (reporter).

For the American League wild-card game, which will be played at a sold-out Progressive Field with a first pitch at 8:07 p.m. Wednesday, the broadcast team for the Tribeís postseason game will be Brian Anderson (play-by-play), Joe Simpson and John Smoltz (analysts) with Rachel Nichols (reporter).

George M. Thomas can be reached at Read the Sports Media blog at Follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook at