New Orleans Saints now 'America's Team'?


The New Orleans Saints are a big national TV hit. 

The Black & Gold have a huge number of fans across the country. And, those fans include the TV networks.

Ben Hales, Chief Operating Officer of the Saints, says there's good reason our boys are so well-liked among the broadcasters.

"The networks are much like the rest of the NFL, it's a performance-based business. And the Saints consistently perform, regardless of who they play nationally, ratings-wise."

Granted he's an insider, but Hales thinks there may be good reason the nation seems to have adopted the Black & Gold.

"Now obviously, I'm a little bit biased, but I would say we're probably a little bit more likable team than, maybe, some of those others who claim to be 'America's Team'." 

There's strong evidence to support such a claim. Through the first quarter of the 2019 NFL season, the Saints can claim the highest TV ratings in the league. Why do the Black & Gold pull such a huge number of national viewers? Hales has some thoughts.  

"There's something about New Orleans that people love. They love our resilience, they love how unique we are, they love the characters that we have. And, the New Orleans Saints, on the field, are that perfect reflection of what New Orleans is as a community."

And the ratings may reflect a growing rejection of the once oh-so-popular Patriots. Their days as top cats on TV may be coming to a close. None of the top-rated games so far have featured New England. Are the Saints benefiting from a sort of Patriots fatigue? 

"All I can say is...and I'm going to sound like Bill Belichick a little bit...I'm just going to worry about the New Orleans Saints and what we can do to make sure that we're in this position where people continue to tune in and continue to watch," says Hales.

But, while he says it's great to have a large national following, he's got to give credit to the Who Dats here at home. 

"As important as these national ratings are, if you look at our local ratings, we're leading the league and it's not even close. We're averaging over a 50 rating each and every week and there's not a team within many, many points of us in that. One thing in our market that's different than some other markets...everybody is a Saints fan." 

And now, there appear to be more and more and more of them outside the city. The Saints are, in fact, trending to be the most-watched team in the National Football League.

"And that says a lot about one of the smallest market teams in the NFL being the most-watched," Hales says. "Just like New Orleans, though, we're out-punching our weight, each and every week."