CBS is banking on Bayou Bengals fans tuning into the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1.
Joe Burrow delivered LSU a championship season and a Heisman Trophy Award last season, becoming one of the most beloved players in school history. Now the network’s local affiliate is hoping for the folks in Baton Rouge, La. to follow Burrow’s career now that he’s moved on to the NFL.
Television viewers in the Baton Rouge area will be able to watch Burrow’s NFL debut with the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers, and it will be fascinating to see what the ratings look like for that game.
A typical Bengals-Chargers game might normally do poorly in most markets any other week, but Burrow’s first game could make it a wild hit in central Louisiana.
With the NFL wiping out the entire preseason, this will be the first time that LSU fans — and the rest of us, for that matter — will have seen him play in a game since beating Clemson in the national title game back in January.
The Bengals, who chose Burrow No. 1 overall in the 2020 NFL draft, not only named him their starting quarterback but also made Burrow a team captain as a rookie.
Burrow is the Bengals’ only LSU player on the active roster.
The Chargers have former LSU player Trai Turner, a starting offensive guard, on their roster. But if the ratings are good, we know it won’t be because of Turner, talented as he might be.
CBS has a single-header on Sunday, with five early games and one afternoon kickoff. Bengals-Chargers is the lone 4 p.m. game on the network, with Kevin Harlan and Trent Green on the call for that one.
Most of the country will see Cam Newton’s New England Patriots debut against the Miami Dolphins, with large tracts of the country out west getting the Las Vegas Raiders game against the Carolina Panthers.
The only other market in the south outside of Baton Rouge to carry the game is the Atlanta metro area. Interestingly, larger portion of Louisiana — including the New Orleans market — will get either Dolphins-Patriots or Raiders-Panthers early over Bengals-Chargers late.
Who will Baton Rouge folks tune in for?
There’s a real risk in carrying Burrow’s debut around Baton Rouge.
Chargers-Bengals game will be played opposite the much-hyped debut of Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who travel to face the New Orleans Saints in the same slot over on Fox. That’s the national game that most of the rest of the country will be watching in that slot.
There are plenty of Saints fans in Baton Rouge and the surrounding area, of course, as LSU is only about an hour up the road from the Superdome.
This is what split-screen viewing or multiple TVs are made for.
But if the local ratings for Chargers at Bengals are strong, it will give you an idea just how beloved the man they called Joe Burreaux truly is in that area.
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