I saw it coming (as posted in the comments here). And now the ratings numbers confirm the NFL is in trouble.
With the dust settled on Week One, the NFL saw a reduction in most key apples-to-apples comparisons from 2015 to 2016.
Via Forbes, the Thursday night opener between the Panthers and Broncos drew 25.2 million, down eight percent from 2015 (Steelers-Patriots) and six percent from 2014 (Packers-Seahawks). Also, Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Cardinals generated an audience of 20.65 million. Despite the game being decided at the last second, the audience fell 18 percent in the 18-to-49 demographic, in comparison to last year’s Giants-Cowboys Sunday night opener.
The putrid ratings of the second Monday Night game are of personal interest.
According to SportsBusiness Daily, the ratings for the early game dropped from 9.8 in 2015 (Eagles-Falcons) to 9.1 for Steelers-Washington. The late game had an even bigger decline, with last year’s Vikings-49ers 9.5 shrinking to 7.1 for Rams-49ers.
Yes, with the Rams back in the nation’s No. 2 media market, the audience for a game that swapped out Minnesota for L.A. from one year to the next saw a 2.4-point drop in ratings. Via Richard Deitsch of SI.com, the total audience fell from 14.3 million to 10.3 million.
The quality of the game surely contributed to the decline. But last year’s 20-3 drubbing of the Vikings by the 49ers was a snooze-fest, too. It nevertheless drew four million more eyeballs.
Now you’d think SF vs. the once again L.A. Rams would attract a lot of interest. This is quite a rivalry, now enhanced by both teams once again being in Californicate. And I was one of those interested.
But during the National Anthem I saw players from both teams being jerks, including holding up raised fists at the flag. Disgusted, I turned off the T. V. before the game got under way. For it was not possible for both teams to lose. And it looks like I was not alone.
Here’s the bigger picture with the NFL. Millennials do not watch sports, particularly football, as much as older generations. So the base viewership of the NFL are males over 30. But now they see an NFL that prohibited the Dallas Cowboys from wearing a police-supporting decal, that each year requires wearing pink in October, but that does not require players to stand respectfully for the National Anthem. And for the first time, a number of players are disrespecting the flag to push a Leftist lie. It’s enough to tick off just about any red blooded, football-watching American male.
And those who watch NFL want to root for a team. But what happens when players from both teams disrespect the National Anthem and the flag? TVs get turned off. And many who watch NFL want something of an escape as Ed Morrissey points out. They don’t tune in to watch a Black Lives Matter protest. Being angered by the refs or a team you hate is one thing. Being angered by Leftist millionaires disrespecting the flag is quite another.
The NFL is alienating many of its core viewers. The league in trouble and will be in further trouble if they do not act to stop the National Anthem protests.
As for me, I’ve been a very loyal NFL viewer since early childhood. I remember my Mama being unhappy about the Ice Bowl game. I cried when Dallas lost (was robbed of) their first Super Bowl. My Sunday afternoon football watching has long been as regular as my church attendance.
But I, of all people, am considering cancelling my NFL Sunday Ticket and boycotting the NFL.
The NFL is in deep trouble.