The NFL is king, and it's not even close.
Sunday night's exhibition between the Cowboys and the Dolphins averaged 10.1 million viewers, NBC announced, making it the largest audience for a preseason game since the game between the Chargers and Cowboys in 2011, after the conclusion of the player lockout.
The game was ranked number one among adults age 18-49, 18-34, 25-54, and predictably, it took the trophy in all major adult-male demographics.
So, to summarize, an exhibition NFL game was the top rated show in the land, beating out "meaningful" MLB matchups handily.
Now, to be fair, most preseason games won't do as well in the ratings as the Hall of Fame game. For one, there will be more exhibition games in the coming weeks to split the ratings, and secondly, the first football game of the season, regardless of meaning, will always draw crowds.
Still, whatever the NFL touches continues to turn to gold. It's those types of ratings that drive NFL owners to seek expanding the season to 18 regular season games instead of the current 16-game format. Owners know that fans want more and more football, and they try to deliver whenever possible. For example, we now have the NFL draft in primetime. Instead of removing the Pro Bowl, the NFL will now host a fantasy draft for the game, giving the league one more high-ratings show to broadcast.
If preseason games tell us nothing else, they tell us without a doubt, the NFL is king.