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Published: Wed, September 28, 2016
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Reasons Behind this Season’s Massive Ratings Drop of NFL

Reasons Behind this Season’s Massive Ratings Drop of NFL

When it comes to taking the crown for TV ratings, NFL is a veteran. For so many seasons NFL was leading the top ratings board. Hence, this season’s massive ratings drop was a big shock for everyone, especially those who are into NFL picks against the spread.

According to Nielsen data, it was discovered that after the first two weeks of this season, “Sunday Night Football” of NBC saw a 12% drop in the ratings compared to last season’s viewership. Similarly, the ratings of “Monday Night Football” of ESPN also saw a 12% drop. However, the biggest blow was experienced by the “Thursday Night Football” of CBS which saw a drop of an unbelievable 26%. 

But it is not all bad news for this season of NFL, as the combined average viewers of all the networks through the first two weeks was 18.3 million. It may not seem like much, but statistically it is a good number. Let’s take the rating of all the 6 season’s finale episodes of the world famous TV series “The Walking Dead” for comparison. The total viewership of all 6 episode amounts to only 14 million. According to experts, observers and avid NFL fans, this proves that the rating is still good and will keep on being healthier. It is just a hiccup which NFL has the ability to overcome easily.

Nevertheless, the average is still down from last season’s first two weeks’ viewership of 20.1 million. This begs the questions, what is the reason behind this drop of ratings? 

The reasons behind this drop is well explained by Billie Gold. For those who is not familiar with Billie Gold, she is Dentsu Aegis Network’s global buying arm and the director of programming research and vice president of Amplifi. 

According to Bille Gold, the drop of big names in big games is the main reason behind NFL’s ratings drop. Gold’s statement can be proved with the help of the kick-off match of the NBC’s “Thursdays Night Football”. The match was between Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, or in other words a must-watch Super Bowl rematch. But as a legend like Peyton Manning retired after the Super Bowl, so Broncos was missing its star quarterback. Peyton’s replacement was Trevor Siemian who is not a crowd favorite as either fans known him as the one who took a knee last year or the one who was drafted in the 7th round (2015). 

This also goes for the “Sunday Night Football” of NBC which was between New England Patriots and Arizona Cardinals. Tom Brady of the New England Patriots is a crowd favorite and happens to be one of the most recognized NFL player. Hence, his absence because of his suspension due to “Deflategate” may very well be the reason behind the ratings drop. 

If the missing star players was not enough, NFL is currently competing with presidential election. It is being said that the coming debate is going to be the most watched presidential debates of all time and it will be coinciding with “Monday Night Football” of ESPN. 

Besides these two reasons, there is also another reason behind the sudden ratings drop. In reality, NFL is actually in competition with itself. This is because; last year’s viewership of NFL’s broadcast primetime package was the best in 22 years.

Here it should be mentioned that this decline of ratings has not affected all NFL broadcast. The Huston Texan vs Patriots game aired on CSB’s “Thursday Night Football” got a 4% more ratings than last season. Whereas, the viewership of the Sunday games on Fox was almost the same as last season.

So, in the words of Gold’s, NFL happens to be the most watched even now but, the viewership is currently undergoing their very own “Deflategate”.

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