The Army-Navy game may have ended with the same team on top for the 13th straight year, but TV ratings show a one-sided rivalry hasn't hurt viewer interest a bit.
The Black Knights' 17-10 loss to the Midshipmen in Baltimore on Saturday drew a 4.5 rating and a 10 share in Nielsen metered markets, the highest rating in 15 years, according to a CBS Sports tweet. It bested last year's 4.2/9 metered-market rating, which had been the best since 1999.
The metered-market numbers chart how many homes with televisions were watching the game (4.5 percent) and, of the homes with TVs where someone was watching television, how many of those homes were tuned to the game (10 percent).
The ratings measure households, not viewers; each ratings point accounts for slightly more than 1 million homes. And the metered market figure may be different from the final rating — last year's final figure was a 3.9, according to Sports Media Watch, with more than 6.2 million people watching the 2013 game.
The rating falls short of CBS's matinee game the previous Saturday, when Alabama beat Missouri to claim the Southeast Conference championship in a clash that earned a 7.8 rating, according to Sports Media Watch. However, if the rating holds, Army-Navy will have outdrawn other big games, including the Pacific-12 title match between Oregon and Arizona (Fox, 3.7 rating) and the Big Ten title game between Ohio State and Wisconsin (Fox, 3.5).
Since 2009, Army and Navy have been the only top-tier college football teams that play on the second weekend of December, a move that cleared away the competition and may have helped boost ratings.
A 2012 Forbes.com headline trumpeted CBS' Army-Navy deal, which runs through 2018, as "The most undervalued television deal in sports," citing sources saying the network pays about $5 million per year to air the game and could pay double that when the deal expires.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.