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Bears get national

Nothing really to say just like reading stuff like this.


Network executives aren't objective when it comes to their favorite teams.

They love having the Bears back on top. The Bears mean higher ratings, which means higher profits for the networks.

"There's not a better story in the NFL than having the Bears back in contention in the NFC," Fox Sports President Ed Goren said. "They are one of those special teams in sports that has the ability to attract a huge national following because the whole country seems to root for them."

The proof is in the numbers. Sunday's Bears-Green Bay game did a 31.1 rating, the highest of the year in Chicago, and a 59 share on WFLD-Ch. 32 (a local ratings point is worth more than 34,000 homes and share is the percentage of televisions tuned to the broadcast). That's following a 28.8 rating for the Bears' victory Nov. 27 at Tampa.

Sunday's audience was more than 30 percent higher than for the season opener against Washington. To put it in perspective: The recent Bears ratings are comparable to what the White Sox did locally during the postseason.

The trend figures to go higher in the upcoming weeks as the Bears receive increased national exposure. Sunday's Bears-Pittsburgh game will be the featured attraction on Fox. As of Monday the game was to be shown to 37 percent of the nation, although that percentage could change.

The Bears then will get complete coverage with two straight national games: Sunday night, Dec. 18 against Atlanta on ESPN (and WCIU-Ch. 26 in Chicago); and a Christmas Day game at Green Bay on WFLD-Ch. 32.

Regardless of how the season plays out, there will be a carryover into next year. Expect the Bears to pop up nationally in Sunday doubleheader slots and in prime time on Sunday and Monday nights.

The Bears' mediocre play has made them a no-show on "Monday Night Football" the last two seasons.