After coming off a regular season that finished down 8% from the year before, the overnight ratings for Wild Card Weekend are on the verge of continuing that trend. To finish up from last season’s Wild Card Weekend, the games on ESPN/ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC needed to average a 23.3 overnight rating.
But right now, it looks like that won’t be happening. For Saturday’s games, Oakland at Houston on ESPN/ABC and Detroit at Seattle on NBC could do no better than 16.6:
But even with those numbers, viewership averaged 25.3 million for Oakland-Houston while Detroit-Seattle in primetime had an audience of 25.3 million.
CBS had the early window on Sunday and averaged a 19.2 overnight rating which is up 4% from 2015’s Cincinnati-Indianapolis game, the last time the network had a contest in the early Sunday window. But compared to last year when NBC had Seattle-Minnesota in the same window, it’s down from the 22.5 that registered last year.
In the late window, Fox had New York Giants-Green Bay, but numbers are not available as this posting. The game is expected to get a big number, but probably not to the level where it could average a 23.3 for all for games.
Now the ratings slump for the first half of the regular season was attributed to the Presidential election. If the overnights for the four games this weekend finish down from last year, not sure how the NFL will spin this even as the northeast was snowed in and were most likely watching TV for the entire day.
UPDATE: Fox’s Wild Card game received a 24.0 overnight in the late Sunday afternoon window. That’s up 2% from last year’s Green Bay-Washington game. So overall, the weekend finished down from 2016’s Wild Card Weekend.