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Bears or foreign policy? In Chicago, it was a tie

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012 9:14 a.m. CDT

(MCT) — Watch Detroit Lions tackle Ndamukong Suh plant Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler like a yard sign or President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney slam each other on foreign policy. That was the agonizing decision facing many Bears fans Monday night, but football and even playoff baseball were no match for the ultimate blood sport — politics, at least nationally.

The final presidential debate, which was carried live on 11 networks, drew nearly six times as many viewers nationwide as "Monday Night Football" and bested the deciding Game 7 of the National League Championship Series by an even larger margin, according to Nielsen.

Some 59.2 million people tuned in to see Obama and Romney go at it on foreign policy in the finale of their three-debate series, according to Nielsen. A relatively sedate affair compared with the previous debates, it nonetheless trounced the 10.7 million viewers who watched the Bears defeat the Lions on ESPN and the 8.1 million who saw the San Francisco Giants clinch the pennant over the St. Louis Cardinals on Fox.

It was, not surprisingly, a much closer contest in Chicago, where some 20,000 viewers separated the Obama-Romney debate from the Bears-Lions game during the 90 minutes the two broadcasts went head-to-head. The debate had nearly 1.71 million people watching locally on an array of cable and broadcast channels, while the football game drew about 1.69 million viewers on ESPN and WCIU-Ch. 26.

Had the Packers been in town, it might have been a different story.

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