The NFL Has Plateaued

The Super Bowl TV ratings were spectacular but the numbers have dropped slightly over the past two years.



Despite a big number for the Super Bowl, the  Green Bay-Dallas NFC playoff game, the television ratings for the NFL division playoffs dropped by three percent when compared to 2016 season and the first round of the playoffs were off by seven percent compared to the first round in 2015-2016. But the NFL isn’t the only football organization that has seen a fall off of eyeballs in front of the TV.  The college football championship game had 680,000 less viewers than in 2016 but some of that was made up online. The NFL had eight percent less viewers in 2016 than in 2015 and people are trying to figure out why.

Baltimore Ravens owner Steve Bischiotti thinks there are too many commercials within the games which disrupts the viewer experience and perhaps less commercials would bring back viewers. But without the commercials, the NFL would not get CBS, NBC and FOX to give them billions for the programming. Perhaps fans are getting tired of franchise moves, there have been nine moves since the early 1980s with one pending. Mark Davis thinking of going to Las Vegas. There were two moves that were stopped, Seattle to Anaheim and the Patriots from Foxboro to Hartford. Most of the moves were on the public dime.  There were also all the arrests over the past decade for murder, domestic violence and a variety of other crimes. And there is also the head injury crisis that is not going away and throw in the decline in the participation of youth in feeder leagues, so you begin to identify some problems. And there are too many games available, Sunday, and Monday and Thursday from the NFL, Saturday, Thursday, Friday from the colleges. Blue collar fans have been priced out and replaced by well-heeled customers and told watch it on TV. Ironically, owners want to have the TV experience in stadiums. It’s not about too many commercials.


The NFL still draws eyeballs to TV sets.