"We're Scratching Our Heads" - Ratings Fumble for NFL Surprises Networks, Advertisers
From the Wall Street Journal:
The NFL has been sacked for a loss. Once considered immune to the audience erosion plaguing the television industry, ratings for the National Football League have slipped through the first four weeks of the season. TV networks have spent heavily on sports, and the NFL in particular, because of their must-see nature.
While more viewers today watch commercial-free streaming services like Netflix or record shows on DVRs and skip the ads, sports programming primarily is still watched live, making it valuable to advertisers. Combined, ESPN, Fox, NBC and CBS are spending an average of $5 billion a year for football rights through 2021.
The games not only score big ratings and ad sales, but are crucial platforms to promote other programming.
This season, network viewership is down about 10% from last season, according to Nielsen data, with steeper declines for prime-time games on Sunday, Monday and Thursday.
The drop has caught advertisers and rights holders off guard and left them scrambling to find a cause.
“We’re scratching our heads,” said Andy Donchin, a media buyer at Amplifi US, an ad-buying unit of Dentsu Aegis Network, whose clients include General Motors Co. “We cannot pinpoint any specific reason why the numbers are down. It is probably being caused by a confluence of events.”Yeah, that's a real head-scratcher, alright.
GO READ THE WHOLE THING.
Here are some thoughts from our comments thread:
1) That an organization of the stature of the NFL would invest 2 years in the Brady, deflated football, soap opera indicates the onset of institutional senility.
2) Despite having a mortal lock on the male demographic the NFL decided it needed to attract the female demographic. All they accomplished was gain the attention of hardcore feminists who insist on dressing players up in pink uniforms to raise awareness for breast cancer and pile big penalties on players accused of domestic abuse.
3) They filled the play by play booth with twits like Bob Costas who feel free to preach progressive sermons during halftime events like damning Washington for the continuing to use the Redskin moniker.
4) And for the coup-de-grace they allow the BLM takeover of the sidelines beginning with the late, unlamented, StL Rams "hands-up-don't-shoot" pantomime and progressing to purposeful disrespect masquerading as free speech in an organization that has never been shy about squelching any form of expression it doesn't like.
This season the NFL has gone full ghetto and whenever that happens white flight will follow.