NFL Ratings Surge Following Conclusion of US Presidential Election

TV set with football on it.  Remote control pointing to it.  Dollar sign (ratings) is in the corner of the screen.It turns out that the sky isn't falling for the National Football League after all.

Earlier in the season, the average viewership for NFL games was 15.5 million, down 14% from the previous season. There were numerous reasons given for the declines, including uncompetitive games, over-saturation and the public's growing distaste for the league's players following a number of unsavory scandals.

How would the NFL react to falling ratings? Would they remove their slate of Thursday Night Football games to increase the quality for the rest of the week? Would they include the league's more storied franchises in more Thursday Night, Sunday Night and Monday Night Football games?

Earlier this week, some good news hit for the league, as their ratings rebounded substantially towards the end of the season. Through Weeks 10 to 17, ratings were only down 1% from the previous year, a marked improvement from earlier in the season. In the end, ratings were down roughly 8% YoY - certainly not a good number, but much better than in the first half of the season.

Many believe that the main reason for the ratings slump in the beginning of the regular season can be attributed to the US Presidential election. With the inclusion of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, many couldn't get their eyes off of the latest news from the campaign trail, which meant that ratings for many NFL games suffered as a result. After getting home from work on a Thursday night, many people chose to turn on the nightly news rather than the week's presentation of Thursday Night Football, which, in many cases, provided a subpar selection of teams to watch.


The NFL certainly has a number of issues to address going forward, including the issue of over-saturation.

In addition to a full slate of games on Sunday morning and afternoon, the NFL also provides its fans with games on Thursday night, Sunday night and Monday night. Sunday is always a marathon session, as games start in the early morning and end late at night. Throw in college football and many fans are suffering from football fatigue by the end of the week.

At the end of the day, the NFL benefits when its most storied franchises, including those from Dallas, Pittsburgh and New England, are doing well. All three of these teams are in the playoffs this year, and all three teams have the potential to go far. If Dallas makes it to the Super Bowl, there is no doubt that the league will enjoy a ratings success. As we saw this season, the Dallas Cowboys, especially when they have a good team, are ratings gold.

My guess is that the league will do some minor tweaks going forward, such as being a bit more choosey with who they put on Thursday Night Football. With the rebound in ratings in the second half of the season, however, don't expect the league to make big changes going forward, as it appears as though the US Presidential election carved a big chunk out of their ratings numbers in the first half of the season.

In short - NFL owners can get back to doing what they do best - counting their money.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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