National Football League ratings down nearly 10 percent in 2017

Hope Soto
January 6, 2018

"Despite losing nine percent of its year-ago audience and coming under attack from both sides of the political spectrum, the National Football League in 2017 continued to cast a long shadow over the media landscape".

Also concerning for league and television executives is the lack of blockbuster games that score at least a 15.0 household rating.

But the top-rated USA show was NBC's Sunday Night Football at 18.2 million viewers, even though that was the show's lowest viewership figure since 2008.

This follows an 8 percent drop across CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN last season, when former quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players began kneeling for "The Star-Spangled Banner" before games. During the 2015 season, an average of 17.9 million viewers tuned in.

And while viewers continued their exodus citing anger over NFL players protesting during the national anthem, TV executives blindly claimed that was not the main reason for tanking ratings.

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A typical game was watched by 1.6 million fewer people this season as compared to last season (14.9 million versus 16.5 million). That is a drop of 1.6 million viewers, a 9.7 percent reduction. Fox was down 22 percent in the season's first week, when a hurricane hit Florida.

NBC's "Sunday Night Football" is now on pace to be the most-watched prime time show for the seventh consecutive year, and ESPN's "Monday Night Football" is still king among males ages 18-49 every week. The NFL TV numbers are still the best in the business.

Online video highlights are also cutting into TV time.

Injuries were also a factor, as three of the league's most dynamic stars - Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, J.J. Watt of the Houston Texans and Odell Beckham of the New York Giants - were sidelined for most of the season.

Despite the drop in NFL ratings, Nielsen data shows that the 20 of the 30 highest-rated shows on television in 2017 were football games.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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