NFL ratings have dropped across the board, and the pre-game shows (just as important for networks, especially considering how they can stack them with ads) are getting hit hard as well. We covered the effect the extra London games have had on pre-game show ratings last month as well as the larger downturn for ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, but now Sports Business Journal‘s Austin Karp has come out with an overall chart of what the ratings look like for all pre-game shows through nine weeks:

NFL PREGAME SHOWS THROUGH WEEK 9
NET
SHOW
START
(ET)
APPROX.
LENGTH
VIEWERS
(000)
PREV.
% +/-
NBC
“Football Night in America”
7:30pm
1 hour
7,932
9,687
-18%
Fox
“Fox NFL Sunday”
12:00pm
1 hour
4,677
4,992
-6%
CBS
“The NFL Today”
12:00pm
1 hour
3,532
3,656
-3%
ESPN
“Monday Night Countdown”
6:00pm
1.5 hours
1,532
1,954
-22%
ESPN
“Sunday NFL Countdown”
11:00am
2 hours
1,413
1,670
-15%
Fox
“Fox NFL Kickoff”
11:00am
1 hour
1,221
1,060
15%
ESPN
“NFL Insiders:
Sunday Edition”
10:00am
1 hour
1,072
1,236
-13%
NFL Net
“NFL GameDay Morning”
9:00am
4 hours
529
534
-1%

What’s particularly remarkable to see is how the primetime pre-game shows have been hit. A 22 per cent drop for Monday Night Countdown and an 18 per cent hit for Football Night In America are both massive hits, and that speaks to the declines those primetime games have taken (19 per cent for Sunday Night Football and 24 per cent for Monday Night Football). There are a lot of people not tuning in for either the game or the pre-game show. It’s interesting too that both those shows have been hard-hit; Monday Night Countdown had a substantial makeover this offseason, while Football Night In America remained more static. Both haven’t found ratings success so far, though.

Turning to Sunday, it’s fascinating that NFL Network’s NFL Game Day Morning has remained almost static and CBS’ The NFL Today has only fallen by three per cent, while Fox’s first show (Fox NFL Kickoff) is up 15 per cent (perhaps thanks to more affiliates carrying it: it now has 86 per cent carriage versus 84 per cent last year) and their second (Fox NFL Sunday) is down six per cent. The hardest-hit is unquestionably ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown, with a 15 per cent loss, but their NFL Insiders: Sunday Edition has also taken a 13 per cent blow. Perhaps that has something to do with ESPN subscriber loss, or perhaps it says that people aren’t enjoying the new cast of Sunday NFL Countdown. Either way, if things continue like this, there might be some real worries for ESPN given how important the pre-game shows can be to them.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously worked at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.

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