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October 05, 2016

Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football Ratings Fall Again

Nice league you got 'ere. Be a shame if somethin' were to 'appen to it.

It seems likely that the numerous #BoycottNFL online campaigns and fan outrage aimed at the National Anthem protests in the NFL have taken a toll in terms of viewership this season. Additionally, cord-cutting continues to eat into traditional TV’s ratings at an alarming rate. But could there be something else at play?

We’re barely a year removed from the NFL setting all-time records in viewership, yet now the league is on pace for its lowest ratings in years. That’s a sharp and unexpectedly sudden turn.

Given the politicized controversies and the variety of streaming options this year, have we reached a cumulative point of football fatigue? The numbers suggest so.

Last night’s Monday Night Football matchup between the Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants drew a 9.1 overnight rating, an 8% drop from last year’s comparable Week 4 game between the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs game in 2014 earned a 9.6 rating.

Overall, Monday Night Football's ratings are down 19% year-to-year.

Sunday Night Football's ratings also continue to fall.

At this point, NFL fans have to wonder if the league is ever going to publicly address its declining TV viewership. As the ratings continue to shrink, so too does the advertising money, hitting the league where it really hurts. Last night was no different.

NBC's Sunday Night Football was down yet again in viewership, drawing in 16.68 million viewers and scoring a 6.19/19 rating in the advertiser friendly 18-49 demo. The numbers mark a season low for SNF and the show's 11.0 overnight rating is the lowest total since 2007 (ouch). While the NFL still won the night in total viewers, those numbers mark a steep drop from last week's 18.62 million/6.8 ratings and the week before’s 20.6 million/7.4 rating.

I repeat what I've said a thousand times but which some seem determined to ignore: No one is under any kind of moral or social obligation to participate in this boycott. If you find that you enjoy the NFL too much -- fine. As I mentioned in a comment, I stopped giving blood when I suspected (wrongly) that it was screwing up my body and causing panic attacks.

For some, a boycott is easier; for others, harder. No one is under any requirements, moral or social, to do any additional work outside of working hours, or to limit the amount of joy they take in a life that sometimes seems to have too little of it.

All I'd ask is for such persons to let those of us able and willing to undertake the boycott to do so without being harassed for it ourselves.

You get the best of both worlds: You get to keep on watching football, while other people, not you, put pressure on the league to stop with the politicization most everyone says they're sick of.

Take your ego out of the equation. The fact that you decline to participate in something does not make that something unworthy. Just the same as my decision to stop giving blood based on (incorrect) fears about it affecting my panic did not make giving blood an unworthy action.

Whether you are personally interested in a particular thing says nothing about whether it's generally a good idea to do.

The fact that I was not willing to give blood, deeming it (wrongly) to be too onerous for me personally, did not turn giving blood into a morally suspect action, nor did it make the ads urging people to give blood "bullying" or "pleasure shaming."

Not everyone does every single extracurricular political agitation or socially-desirous action they can. That should not cause people to insist, contrary to all explicit declarations, that those willing to undertake such actions are somehow bullying or "pressuring" them to do likewise.

As I said: We only need a decline of 15%. They will feel that. Oh Lordy, will they feel that.

That means that 85% can free ride off other people's boycott.

So do so. And stop whining about it.

By the way, Rush Limbaugh talked about this and said the decline was a "culmination" of many things, boycotting the anthem for one obviously, but also the fact that rule changes now have fans and refs alike paralyzed as to what a "catch" actually is anymore.

I don't watch the game anymore so I don't know about this new rule. I wouldn't even mention this, except that a friend brought up this very issue as part of his own reason for reduced interest in the NFL. (He also cited the anthem boycott.)

Limbaugh also notes the networks are going to have to pay advertisers a lot of money in free ads and give-backs due to not hitting the ratings goals they promised when they sold the add space.

And what could possibly be the objection to that?

At some point, the idea of taking down the media has to turn into the actual action of taking down the media.

Frankly, it gets a little silly listening to tens of thousands of people natter about the need to "take it to the media" while they stuff money into the media's pockets and tell them, "Don't mind us, we'll keep watching no matter what you do to offend, marginalize, or insult us."

Money talks, bullshit walks.

Let the people willing to talk to the NFL in cash-money terms do so without being yelled at for it.

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posted by Ace at 02:47 PM

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