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Buffalo rating for "Four Falls" is best for ESPN in local market in 5 years

During “Four Falls of Buffalo,” former Bills Coach Marv Levy cracked that he knew 400,000 Bills fans who claimed to be at the “Greatest Comeback” game over Houston.

Former Bills special teams ace Steve Tasker said in the "30 for 30" film that he knew of 1.2 million fans who said they were at the game.

You might have expected the same number of fans were watching Saturday night’s film on the glory days of the Super Bowl Bills. But as impressive as the local rating was for the national premiere of the film about the Bills team that lost four straight Super Bowls, the, viewership didn’t approach those figures here.

The Saturday night premiere had an 8.9 local rating on ESPN. Since each rating point equals 5,853 homes, that is the equivalent of about 52,000 households tuning in.  Of course, it was a TV event in which many Western New York parents were watching with their children to show them that the Bills were really good at one point. With that in mind, you could expect each household had two or three people watching so 100,000 or 125,000 local viewers is a reasonable estimate of how many watched the premiere.

The 6 a.m. Sunday replay had a 0.4 rating, which is the equivalent of about 2,800 households.

And, of course, many fans DVRed the program for later viewing that will be counted three or seven days later.

According to ESPN, the Buffalo rating for “Four Falls” made it the highest-rated film for ESPN in a local market in five years.  Naturally, it also was highest local market rating in Buffalo for a “30 for 30” film.

Nationally, “Four Falls” had a 1.1 overnight rating in the 56 major TV markets. The final national rating arrives today, when it can be put in perspective.

Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched “Four Falls” and plan to, you better stop reading because I’m about to address the fantasy ending of the film.  Ken Rodgers, the director of the film, told me that the final call by the late Bills play-by-play man Van Miller that had Scott Norwood make the 47-yard field goal to win Super XXV over the New York Giants was made by splicing together two separate radio calls by Miller.

Rodgers said he decided to end the film with the Bills winning the Super Bowl because he wanted to leave viewers with “hope” and a positive feeling. It worked at the special preview audience at the North Park Theater last week. The crowd gave the film a standing ovation.

More ratings: The Bills’ 23-20 loss to Philadelphia Sunday had a 41.1 rating on Channel 4.  The Buffalo Sabres’ 2-1 overtime win over Los Angeles on MSG Saturday had a 7.1 rating. It ended about 15 minutes after “Four Falls” started. Navy’s exciting victory over Army Saturday afternoon and early evening had a 6.3 rating on Channel 4.


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