Wednesday, September 27, 2017

NFL Viewership Down 11%

According to the latest numbers from Nielsen, through week three of the NFL schedule viewership is down 11% to last year.  There are a number of things at play here:

  • Cord-cutting continues unabated and is likely one of the culprits contributing to this reduction. 
  • The NFL has been losing popularity starting a couple of years ago, being impacted by things as vast as concerns about player safety, to off the field behavior of players, to the politicization of sports writers and ESPN.
  • People are really ticked at this national anthem mess and football is clearly losing some folks due to this.  While it likely doesn't account for the entire reduction, it certainly is having an impact.
The NFL is big business, and if a big business suddenly finds itself down 11% year-over-year, panic sets in.  Despite this, the NFL seems to not have a plan on what they're going to do, other than hoping this blows over.

Here's a hint for the NFL - it ain't blowing over anytime soon.

As one that used to do a lot of TV advertising and bought a lot of NFL commercial time, the NFL is massively expensive.  They could command those huge rates due to the audience they delivered.  Now that the audience is in free fall, advertisers can quickly find better places to spend their money.  This thing is tipping over right before our eyes.

The NFL better get their arms around this.  It can easily start impacting their season ticket base, which can then impact their ability to sell out, which then impacts their ability to broadcast games.  We're a long way from that happening right now, but that will be how the toilet circles if it does happen.

We'll see.  

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