Last week, we told you that NFL viewership declined 9.7% in 2017 from the year before. And it’s the second consecutive year that the league’s viewership numbers have fallen. In 2016, the numbers fell by eight percent from the year before. While the decline isn’t what Commissioner Roger Goodell had in mind, he’s not all that worried.
Goodell cites the fact that the NFL is still a hot commodity on TV, “We always want ratings to go up, but we’re 37 of the top 50 shows, which is higher than ever.” He added, “I think dominance of the NFL in television is still very clear.” Goodell made his comments to reporters this past weekend while attending the Bills-Jaguars playoff game in Jacksonville.
Even with the lower numbers, advertisers are still flocking to the NFL as revenue increased for the league’s TV partners throughout the first part of the 2017 regular season.
Goodell said that the NFL’s showcase games in the late Sunday afternoon window as well as Sunday and Thursday Night Football continue to dominate the television landscape:
”We’re likely to be the number one show on Fox, excuse me on all of television, the Fox Sunday afternoon game. Sunday night, primeitme for the seventh year in a row, the number one show. Thursday Night Football is number two.”
Goodell noted that the NFL has also expanded its viewing experience online by partnering with Verizon for streaming of in-market and national games as well as with Amazon for the Thursday Night package.
But while some observers are saying the league is in trouble with the falling ratings and viewership, the NFL Commissioner is publicly stating that he’s not worried and is looking at the silver linings in the numbers. Yes, NFL games are still among the most watched programs and Super Bowl LII will again garner the largest TV audience of 2018, but the trends are swinging lower.
While the NFL can’t expect every year to be like its record-setting seasons of the first half of this decade, it still can’t be excited that the dropoff epecially for Wild Card Weekend was in double digits compared to last season.