Steelers crush TV ratings

According to preliminary ratings released Friday by Nielsen Media Research, the Steelers-Eagles preseason game last Thursday at Heinz Field was a big hit with the television audience, both locally and nationally.

Pittsburgh led all of the major television markets with a 29.1 rating and 46 share, and the 46 share means that 46 percent of all televisions in the Pittsburgh region tuned in to see the team's second of four preseason games on a Thursday night in August.

Philadelphia's ratings for the game came in third among all television markets, behind Pittsburgh and New Orleans. Philadelphia had a 12.8 rating and a 20 share, according to Nielsen.

In the game, the Steelers posted a plus-5 in turnover ration and Ben Roethlisberger completed 5-of-5 passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns on third down situations to even their preseason record at 1-1 with a 24-14 victory.

The Steelers-Eagles telecast on Fox was by far the top show in primetime Thursday night nationwide. The telecast averaged an estimated 5.8 household rating and 10 share between 8-11 p.m., according to Nielsen's preliminary ratings. It was Fox's best preseason telecast since 2007.

Steelers vs. Eagles also crushed the 2010 numbers for the Fox preseason games, with an estimated 8.3 million nationwide compared to 5.8 million viewers for last year's Patriots-Falcons game. Based on the early numbers, Steelers-Eagles might turn out to have drawn the biggest audience for an NFL preseason game televised on a day/night other than Sunday or Monday in a decade.

The Steelers-Eagles game faced "Big Brother" on CBS and ABC's reality series "Wipeout," among other competing shows.

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