NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The 2014 NFL schedule release provided a much-needed fix for football fans across the country. For the television networks and secondary ticket market however, the stakes were much higher. Just a few months ago, CBS (CBS) won the network war to claim the NFL's Thursday Night Football package for this upcoming season.
For their victory, CBS is given the rights to eight early season Thursday Night Football games, which will be simulcast on NFL Network, while NFL Network retains the right to the final eight games. This will mark the first time since 2006, when Disney's (DIS - Get Report) ABC moved Monday Night Football to its sister network, ESPN, that a broadcast network will air NFL games on a weeknight.
But while the big television contract is exactly what the NFL had in mind when it crafted the Thursday Night Football package two years ago, the prime time NFL ratings war is largely dependent on the match-ups that the league hands out to each network. Using currently available secondary market ticket-pricing data from TiqIQ as an indicator of demand and proxy for ratings, it appears that NBC's Sunday Night Football came out well ahead of its Thursday and Monday Night counterparts.
Perhaps the two largest factors in secondary market ticket demand are team competitiveness and market size. These factors also have a large influence on TV ratings. In this respect, Comcast's (CMCSA - Get Report) NBC hit a home run with their slate of 15 Sunday Night Football games. All but one of the games features at least one playoff team from last season, while the Week 12 match-up between the Giants and Cowboys is a classic divisional rivalry between two massive markets.
This has resulted in an average secondary market ticket price of $386.72 for Sunday night Football games, by far the highest of the three prime time packages. Comparatively, the Monday Night Football package offers five games that do not involve any playoff teams from last season, while Thursday Night Football features seven. The average secondary market ticket prices for MNF and TNF are $307.60 and $308.01, respectively. These figures reflect a premium for SNF tickets of over 25%.
Sunday Night Football also holds the distinction of currently having the highest priced prime-time game of the season on the secondary market, which is the Week 9 showdown between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field. Steelers tickets are typically among the most expensive in football, and with an average price of $464.05, this game is currently the most expensive on the Steelers schedule.