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September 27, 2016

NFL Players Association: Yeah, We're Worried About the Decline in Viewership

Sunday Night Football's ratings dropped again.

While NFL teams continue to pile up the stats, the NFL’s television ratings continue to come in with lower and lower numbers each week. NBC’s Sunday Night Football matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears last night drew in 18.62 million viewers, scoring a 6.8/21 rating in the 18-49 demographic, the group most coveted by advertisers.

That marks a fall from last week’s 7.4 rating in the 18-49 demo. Last night’s game also scored a 12.9/21 in Nielsen’s metered-market rating, a decline from last week’s 13.7/23.

This Forbes article, written before this weekend's games, notes the general trend.

Just last year some opined that the league’s ratings had no ceiling. That appears to be false.


To summarize Sports Business Daily: NBC’s three primetime games, which includes the NFL Kickoff game, have averaged 23.7 million viewers, down 12% from the same period last year. ESPN also is seeing a 12% decline for its three “MNF” games to date. While CBS CBS +1.45% and NFL Network have only one Thursday night game to date, that lone game (Jets-Bills, 15.4 million viewers) was down 27% compared to the opening “TNF” game last season. Looking at Sunday afternoons, Fox is off (-0.2%) through two weeks, averaging 20.9 million viewers. CBS is averaging 17.3 million viewers through the same point, down 5%.

While some suggest that the drop in ratings may be due to the lack of “marquee” match ups, I don’t buy it. For starters, none of the recent PR debacles, such as drugs, beatings or concussions, created something like #boycotnfl. Two, Kaepernick is the most-disliked player in the NFL. Three, I challenge anyone to look at the comments on stories about the NFL national anthem protests and tell me the anecdotal evidence does not strongly suggest many, if not most viewers are fed up either because they are against the protests, or just don’t want politics of any kind to interfere with their football.

The NFLPA says they're concerned by the amount of blood gushing from this very pale formerly golden goose.

"This is a huge issue for us obviously," NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said on Friday's PFT Live. "We spend a lot of time looking at trends. I was thrilled to see the game being streamed on Twitter. We're interested about where media is going. Viewership is an important issue, stadium attendance is a very important issue to us. So as we look forward knowing that there are a couple of television contracts that are going to come up. I think it is smart for us to look at the impact of whether fans are watching on TV or not."

A decline in TV viewership won’t be a factor until after the current TV contracts expire, assuming there isn’t a renegotiation before the existing deals expire after the 2022 season.

Well, there's only one possible way to arrest the decline of the NFL:

Coed bathrooms for everyone!


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posted by Ace at 02:20 PM

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