Being forced to choose between the Eagles and the final presidential debate is a bad thing that’s really happening in Philadelphia.
The disappointing Birds will face the New York Giants on Thursday night football at 8:20 p.m. EST, kicking off less than an hour before President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden shared the stage for the last time in the electoral cycle from 2020.
By all accounts, Philadelphians are intensely engaged in this year’s election. More than 1.1 million residents of the city are registered to vote, the highest number of registered voters since 1984, according to Commissioner Al Schmidt. And Philadelphia was the top TV market for the first presidential debate last month, with a rating of 50.3 (about 1.46 million homes), according to Nielsen, who estimated that about 73% of televisions turned on in Philadelphia that night. – there were stuck on the debate (most watched in town on 6ABC, followed by Fox News).
“I think it’s likely that both nationally and in Philadelphia this debate will be drastically down from the first debate, which clearly left a lot of viewers with bad taste,” said Michael Mulvihill, responsible for strategy and analysis for Fox Sports. “Having said that, it’s still a huge event and I think the debate and the Eagles game will each have a modest impact on each other.… There is room for both.
The first debate drew around 73 million viewers, making it the most-watched TV event since the Super Bowl. New York City is the nation’s largest media market, so the Eagles-Giants game could make a notable dent in the debate notes this time around (the Thursday night football game between the Chicago Bears and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on October 8 drew 14.71 million viewers).
Since the debate is only expected to last an hour and a half, enterprising fans could tune in to Fox29 to watch the kickoff, switch to virtually any other broadcast channel at 9 p.m. to catch the debate, and still have time to watch the end of the game. (assuming the Eagles haven’t already blown him up by then).
The decision on which to watch is much more difficult for the media people who pay the bills covering the news. NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker, a Philadelphia native and diehard Eagles fan, will not be able to tune into the game as she will moderate tonight’s debate.
Fox News anchor and reporter Jillian Mele, originally from Glenside and former Comcast SportsNet host, wakes up ridiculously early to co-host Fox and his friends first at 4 a.m. That means she’s usually in bed by 6 p.m., but on Thursday she plans to take an afternoon nap in order to catch Trump and Biden.
“As a lifelong Eagles fan, there’s usually not much between me and a Birds game. However, this is the most important election of my life so far and I will focus on the final presidential debate, ”said Mele. “Who knows, maybe I’ll bring luck to the Eagles by missing this game?” Crossed fingers.”
The same goes for Ed Rendell, the former mayor of Philadelphia and governor of Pennsylvania. He may be bleeding green and white, but Biden’s surrogate will monitor the former vice president’s performance against Trump on Thursday night.
“I’ll watch the debate while I record the Eagles,” Rendell said.
Fox News opinion host Jesse Watters, a staunch Trump supporter who grew up in Germantown and East Falls, is also a lifelong Eagles fan. Luckily for Watters, he co-hosts The five in the afternoon, freeing him to get in tune with the Birds game.
“If you wait until the next day to watch the Eagles game, your friends, neighbors or spouse will spoil it that morning before watching it and telling you who won,” Watters said. “Watch the Eagles game live, the debate can wait.”
Jake Tapper has no choice. The New York native who grew up in Queen Village will co-host CNN’s live coverage of the debate, meaning he’ll already be on the air when the game begins. But that doesn’t mean it won’t check the score during commercial breaks.
Tapper said it was his “honor and responsibility” to cover the debate, “but I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t rather watch the Eagles win.”