NFL Ratings: Top Stories, Sports and Business News — Sept. 15

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These are the stories shaping sports and business on Tuesday, Sept. 15th, 2020.

A Game 1 and Game 7 in the NBA

The sports calendar, finally, is busy again. Tuesday night, the focus is on the NBA, where there is a game one in the Eastern Conference Finals in a toss up of a series between the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat.

Even more importantly, there's a game 7 out West as the Clippers attempt to avoid blowing a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets. A lot is on the line for Los Angeles, not just their first-ever Conference Finals appearance, but embarrassment if they don’t make it -- much of this season was sold as a collision course between the two Los Angeles teams. 

So if Doc Rivers’ team, led by Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, can’t get it done, it will be one of the more talked-about results in NBA history.

Meanwhile, University of Nebraska President Ted Carter was caught on a hot mic earlier Tuesday saying, “We're getting ready to announce the Huskers and Big Ten football tonight…”

So, sports fans might want to prepare themselves for more college football being added to an already crazy calendar.

Daily Coronavirus Update

According to Johns Hopkins, there are over 29.3 million cases of the virus worldwide, with over 930,000 deaths. The U.S. has surpassed 6.5 million cases with 195,000 deaths.

Earlier today, TheStreet's Katherine Ross spoke with Eli Lilly  (LLY) - Get Report senior vice president Patrik Jonsson to talk about some exciting news from the company concerning initial data on baricitinib in a trial sponsored by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

It was found that there was approximately a one-day reduction in median recovery time for the overall patient population treated with baricitinib in combination with remdesivir versus those treated solely with remdesivir.

So what does this mean? Jonsson told Ross that, for patients that are so ill that a hospitalization is required, that this allows them to recover faster and “the overall outcome is better” compared to when they’re only treated with remdesivir.

Yesterday, the CEO of GIlead -- which makes remdesivir --  said that they were exploring options to use remdesivir outside of a hospital, so Ross asked Jonsson if Lilly planned that for their drug and Jonsson said that he expects the treatment -- since it is designed to help treat patients who are hospitalized -- to be used in a hospital setting. They are collecting data on baricitinib alone, but don’t expect to get the full data until the end of this year.

Ross also asked about Lilly’s antibody treatment and Jonsson told me that the treatment -- which is in partnership with AbCellera -- is progressing "very well" and that they're in Phase 3. He says that they hope to get data from that study "towards the end of September, early October."

NFL Ratings

After a rough start to the season in primetime Thursday, the NFL had a mixed ratings bag in Week 1 that was highlighted by big numbers for Tom Brady’s debut in a Tampa uniform and a big ratings drop for NBC’s Sunday Night Football broadcast.

Brady’s first game with his new team was viewed by nearly 16 and a half million viewers on Fox in the Sunday afternoon time slot. The game was the high-water mark for the league this weekend and the Fox network’s highest rated Week 1 matchup since 2016.

However, the Sunday night contest , which usually is the most-watched game of the week, between the LA Rams and Dallas Cowboys, was viewed by just 14.8 million viewers. While that was enough to be the most watched program on TV that night, the game was down 28% in the important 18-49 demo and down 23% overall.

While that could be concerning for the league and NBC, those numbers do lack the viewership totals from the West coast, including the Rams' home of Los Angeles.

The elephant in the room is of course the player protests that were shown and often discussed during the broadcast. Some people have vowed to abandon the NFL over the protests, while still others are not watching because Colin Kaepernick doesn’t have a job in the league.

While Monday night’s viewership numbers are still being calculated, it was an uneven week for NFL ratings, but there is a long season ahead.

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