The final tallies are in for the NFL ratings for the year and it’s a huge drop for them. The official viewership ratings posted double-digit losses from last year’s totals across the board.
While attendance and ratings dropped in 2016, they took an even bigger hit in 2017.
According to USA Today, the average audience numbers across the entire spectrum of NFL’s broadcast networks –NBC, CBS, Fox, ESPN, and their private streaming outlet- fell by a stunning 10% from last year’s totals. Even worse, the ratings for the 2016 season were also down a stunning 8% from 2015.
“NFL broadcasts had an average minute audience of 14.9 million compared to 16.5 million in 2016. CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN had a smaller audience than 2016,” writes USA Today. “ESPN, which included its streaming audience, had the lowest drop among the four networks at a 7.7% decline. Fox had a 9.1% drop, NBC dipped 10.4% and CBS fell 11.2% compared to 2016.”
The NFL has taken precipitous hits in ratings and attendance since fans began boycotting them over players kneeling during the performance of the national anthem.
While Sunday Night Football is still number one on the broadcast networks, it still took a big decline.
From Hollywood Reporter:
The weekly telecast finished the season with an average 18.2 million viewers tuning in live and a 6.1 rating among adults 18-49. Both of those numbers represent double-digit drops from the previous year, with drops of 10 percent of its audience and 13 percent of its showing in the key demo outpacing overall 2017 declines for the league.
While Sunday Night was down, that wasn’t the biggest drop.
The biggest year-to-year drops in primetime go to NBC and the NFL Network’s shared coverage of Thursday Night Football, which took in an average 14 million viewers and a 4.1 rating in the key demo. The second half of the season’s Thursday games dropped 21 percent, year-over-year, among adults 18-49, dipping below a comparatively steady Thursday Night Football showing from CBS (14.1 million viewers; 4.5 rating among adults 18-49) at the top of the season.
The night that lost the least was Monday Night Football.
And that all cost the networks as well as the NFL.
From LA Times:
The decline in ratings meant the networks had to make good on commercials to NFL advertisers in order to compensate for the audience shortfall, according to one network executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The executive said all carriers of NFL games — NBC, CBS, Fox and ESPN — “made a lot less money than they expected” as a result of the ratings decline.
Each outlet pays more than $1 billion a year for NFL TV rights, with ESPN shelling out the most — $1.9 billion for “Monday Night Football.”
The NFL was already facing issues from all manner of viewing options as well as saturation by going to three nights.
But the protests put a final nail in the coffin of their year.
And it doesn’t sound like they’re working on doing anything to improve the situation in the new year.
[Note: This post was written by Nick Arama]