NFL TV ratings drop 10 percent, networks see revenue decline

NFL blowback

Imagine my distress.

From Yahoo: NFL ratings dropped almost 10 percent in 2017 from the previous year according to Nielsen data released on Thursday, a further decline in the decreased TV viewership from 2016 that saw an 8 percent drop.

The average number of games watched by viewers throughout the season dropped from 18.8 in 2015 to 16.5 in 2017.

Several factors appear to have influenced the decreased interest from fans in watching games, with a Los Angeles Times report pointing to evidence that suggests controversy over players kneeling for the national anthem played a role early in the season.

The L.A. Times spoke with Fox Sports executive Mike Mulvihill, who shared some numbers from the network. Fox’s Sunday package saw an 8 percent decline in Weeks 2 through 10 when the anthem controversy was at its peak, spurred on by commentary from President Donald Trump.

During Weeks 11 through 17, the drop in viewership shrunk to 2 percent for the network.

Viewers upset with players kneeling and others not satisfied with the NFL’s handling of the Colin Kaepernick situation that saw the quarterback miss the entire season appear to have tuned out.

A more compelling slate of national games and better quality of play as the season wore on and the playoff picture cleared up likely played a factor in the late-season shift as well.

Mulvihill also pointed to a changing demographic that consumes its entertainment in non-traditional media, most notably YouTube, in this case. “The audience for NFL highlights on YouTube have become pretty substantial,” Mulvihill said. “Those highlights can be eight, nine or 10 minutes long, and I do worry they can be serving as a disincentive from watching the live game.”

Mulvihill is clearly concerned about a younger audience less interested in sitting down for three-plus hours to watch a single game play out. He also theorized that more people are watching the news on Sundays with the volatile political climate being a big television draw, piggybacking on the wide-held belief that the election last year played a role in the declining 2016 numbers.

Despite the declining numbers, NFL viewership is still king on broadcast TV, by a wide margin. AdAge analysis shows that NFL broadcasts accounted for 37 of the 50 most watched broadcasts in 2017. NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” remained No. 1 prime-time show on TV.

But that doesn’t mean network heads aren’t concerned. With CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN each paying at least $1 billion for broadcasts rights, the stakes are high. And, according to an anonymous network executive who spoke with the L.A. Times, each of those networks “made a lot less money than they expected” in 2017.


26 responses to “NFL TV ratings drop 10 percent, networks see revenue decline

  1. From seeing so many empty bleachers, I am thinking these numbers are under reported.
    We stopped watching when things turned political. We switched to college, but now we have some smart aleck players voicing their ignorant statements.
    We actually tried watching and figuring out the game Cricket last week and after an hour, I was still confused. This make take awhile to learn.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. Only 10%? That means 90% don’t really give a fig about patriotism and the flag. 😦

    I predict that in less than a year, NFL ratings will be back to “normal,” Americans having notoriously short memories.

    Liked by 3 people

    • You are spot on Doc we have seen it before over and over no matter what they do now I will never go back to many of my family have died for that flag and I will not stand for the disrespect in my own home so nope they lost me for good. The people in this country need to wake up to the growing descent in the general population that is about to explode and this garbage just brings it a little closer to the edge this great Nations is about to fall off of.

      Liked by 5 people

      • Brian . . . . God Bless those of your family who have shed their blood in our nation’s name, and for our flag.

        I will remember always that on occasions when our flag was presented, he would get tears in his eyes. He was always adamant about receiving “his flag.” the one that was promised to all those who had ever served under our flag. Today, I have that flag in my possession, prominently displayed!

        God Bless the United States of America!

        Liked by 5 people

    • I hope not! If they do return their love for the country is shortlived and the NFL their flag.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Dr Eowyn . . . I too, am afraid that that is exactly what John Q Public will eventually do. (I can only conclude that what they need is a little infusion of my Swedish ancestry’s blood — so help me, we just don’t forget, and oft times we don’t forgive.) It is ludicrous that so many Americans are not willing to stand up for their country, so to speak, they are willing to settle for a mess of pottage.

      Liked by 4 people

    • Not too sure about that.

      MLB still hasn’t fully recovered from the strike, and that was eons ago.

      I know people that still refuse to watch professional baseball – and some of them were loyal Braves season ticket holders back in the day.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Dave . . . . . keep up the good work! BTW, so you have any Swedish ancestry? If so, you have come by that certain stubbornness in a very legitimate way.

        Liked by 2 people

        • LOL – I was adopted at the age of four weeks, so I really don’t know.

          But I’m pretty sure I have some Italian in me somewhere given my culinary preferences. 😀

          Liked by 2 people

  3. I never could understand the nature of humans and their insatiable need to watch the destructive ravages of primitive savages pushing & shoving & slugging it out on the turf – hoping for broken bones & blood.. Then I recalled the ancient Roman times.. Let loose the Lions, – the Crowd still wants to see the blood flowing..

    Liked by 4 people

    • EddieBG . . . . I agree with you. Since I came from a family when our Father liked fishing, and on occasion clam digging (and also gun shooting) we never saw him sit and watch sports on TV. As I look at myself and my siblings, not a one of us watches sports either on TV or in person. I have come to the conclusion that this is an acquired taste, which is brought on by the mores of the family you were raised in.

      My oldest nephew, joined a new company, a trucking line. Fortunately, do to the fact that he can outwork the vast majority of guys around him, because he just doesn’t goof off; he was given tickets to attend a Winterhaws (ice hockey) game. He told me he left before the game was over. I asked him if he enjoyed it. His response was “No,” I went because I felt I needed to support the company. My brother, his father, just never watched sports on TV, although he has had a lifetime love of swimming, and I think my nephew just never saw much benefit in TV sports. Although, he loved to go fishing with his Grandpa.

      I am glad I was spared a lifetime of people watching sports on TV, it just isn’t my style. However, it angers me no end that any American citizen would disrespect our flag.

      In thinking about it, of our four siblings, three of us are hyper-interested in politics, and what is going on in our nation, our state, and our city. I think that was perhaps primed by watching our father, everyday after he arrived home from work–he would lay on the couch, and read the newspaper from cover to cover. He was always well informed. How very sad that along his grandchildren, I see no one who is interested in politics from a conservative point of view. What a pity!

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Unfortunely, too many Americans suffer short term memory dysfunction. I think once this season winds down and the NFL faces a sharp reality these silly protests will be over. The fanatics will make their excuses and the 2018 season will be like nothing happened.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Ric . . . I hope that doesn’t happen, but I remain sceptic that it will. I noticed in today’s news . . . the NFL is planning on playing some games in London. I was rather taken aback at the thought, but perhaps they wish to have a more agreeable crowd to play to. Also, the stands may be filled with more spectators. My fervent hope would be that the average Brit would just stay home . . . nothin’ to see here!

      Liked by 3 people

  5. I’ve been to family and friends on Sundays for dinner a few times since this outrage started where the game is on in the background but nobody’s watching. The numbers are probably faked anyway to sustain the pervasive brainwashing before the game that links patriotism with militarism for the benefit of Israel and throughout the game in the ads that associate manliness with masturbatory sexual fantasy and rank hedonism. USA! NFL! USA! NFL!

    One of Spengler’s sharpest observations was that no animal trainer has his charges more under his control than the owners of the media do the minds of citizens like these NFL fans. Another analogy would be the tiny (by comparison) parasitic wasps that don’t kill their prey, but inject it and, riding the prey’s antennae like the controls of a vehicle, cause the huge prey to crawl by itself to the wasp’s nest to be eaten and used as needed, as America has been for decades by the owners of the media, Hollywood, Wall Street, etc.

    NFL fans might object to reality, who knows, but they mark themselves as brainwashed fools when it’s pointed out that there’s about 13 minutes of play action in each 195 minute telecast, and yet they still continue to turn their homes into a simulacrum of a sports bar so they can anesthetize themselves with enough beer to sit through what’s become a mockery of everything that made this a once great nation.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. DCG . . . . Thank you for this informative post!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I’m going to go out on a limb here and venture a guess that, the most rabid (previous) NFL supporters are heavily concentrated in the US South, and even central “flyover states,” as well as some sparsely-populated Southwestern states—–wherein reside our most traditionally-laden American military volunteers and career soldiers….not just for decades…BUT FOR MORE THAN A CENTURY……All I can say to the powers to be at the fore of the NFL business/management is…….DAH! YOU NEED A NEW STAFF/BUSINESS MODEL. YOU ARE TRYING TO SELL Sushi to a steak and hamburger clientelle. You will NOT “win.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • CalGirl . . . . that was “spot on!” Thank you. I must say I think perhaps you are correct. When the Japanese said, after bombing Pearl Harbor . . . “I fear we may have awakened a sleeping giant” (or close to that.) I hope that the greater majority of folks will spiritually become awakened to this awful threat to our nation. If as a nation you will not reverence that very thing that is a symbol of you as a nation . . . then probably you are doomed to fail as a nation!

      As a child each and every day at school, we recited the Pledge of Allegiance, I think that in us older Americans perhaps our nation is dearer to our hearts than young people. Among our youth, there are many who recline to recite the Pledge, for any of several reasons. Anyone who immigrates to this land should be expected to pledge their whole being to allegiance to this nation . . . and if they cannot pledge, then they should not be allowed to enter the country. No ifs, ands, or buts!

      Liked by 2 people

      • When I was little we recited the Pledge every day in school. We also had a prayer. It was possible to sit out the Pledge, but I don’t remember anyone doing that. I think they had to go to the cloak room to do that.

        I do not believe in “phony patriotism”. The Pledge is simply a pledge. If someone doesn’t want to make it it is fine with me. The problem with the fetchers is that the whole IDEA of “football” (or sports in general) is an organized self-proclaimed hype of “patriotism”. If they want to participate, and make HUGE sums of money, they should participate, or quit.

        Patriotism, just like faith, is personal. My father fought in WWII all the way from North Africa until a year after the surrender. He did not have any animosity toward Germans. He actually praised Rommel as a good soldier. He was “patriotic” in the right way.

        They are using these fetchers because they have been seduced by the Maoists. My patriotism does not depend on fetchers or anyone else. I will say that, if they are taking their employer’s time to make personal statements against everything their employers claim to represent I cannot understand why they are not fired. I’m sure Americans would rather watch less talented players who appreciated their obligations.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. In case you missed it…

    CRAZY: NBC says it will broadcast PROTESTING players during its SUPER BOWL broadcast

    Liked by 2 people

  9. If in some way, a few players used the pregame ceremony to celebrate traditional marriage or the RKBA, I think the NFL would put an end to all demonstrations and treat the players as their employees like the fans in the stadia and watching on TV are treated on their jobs.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. For those who commented that were not NFL fans, or even fans of watching sports on TV, I get you. What I don’t get is the seeming disdain and dismissal of those of us who used to like watching the NFL, but are distressed about these phony protests. I also don’t understand why you would even want to weigh in on this issue. The disrespect for the flag by the NFL players doesn’t cause you non-fans to miss, well, anything at all, as you weren’t watching in the first place.

    Liked by 4 people

  11. I never said one doesn’t have the right to say what they like. I just questioned the reasoning of criticizing something that one isn’t even interested in and demeaning others who are interested. IOW, anyone has the right to be unreasonable and insulting, just as I reserve the right to call them on it too.

    Liked by 1 person

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