The National Football League (NFL) is dropping viewers of Sunday Night Football. And Twitter is offering a host of explanations as to why.
Sunday Night Football saw a 17% decline in audience share between the Cowboys-Rams game and the Patriots-Seahawks game this week.
“Patriots-Seahawks got a 29.2 rating and 52 share in Boston. Not huge by SNF/Pats standards,” Boston Globe sports media columnist Chad Finn tweeted.
However, the overall picture is mixed, Yahoo! Sports reported. The audience share for Thursday Night Football remained steady compared to last year. And NFL Sunday on Fox, led by the Atlanta Falcons-Dallas Cowboys matchup, brought a 6% increase in viewers over last year.
Some suggested the coronavirus pandemic is to blame for Sunday Night Football’s numbers. Deadline.com pointed out that there are no fans in the seats for most games. And when fans are allowed, as in the primetime game at Kansas City’s Arrowhead Stadium, they have booed the protests from NFL athletes.
Twitter user @ImperfectBob argued the kneeling and anthem protests have nothing to do with the numbers. “SNF has been losing ratings year after year even before the kneeling so yeah not much difference,” he tweeted.
Others pointed to the timing of the games. “Do you think SNF ratings are down because of how late the games are?” Twitter user Eric Chagas wondered. “East coast fans that are working class would enjoy catching the end of their games smh.”
Whatever the reason for the NFL’s declining numbers on Sunday, the league has a lot of money at stake in getting them back up.