Based on initial ratings, the marquee matchup of the New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks drew in 12.22 million viewers and a 3.5 in the demographic. This game was down 17% in viewership compared to last Sunday and 25% in the ratings demographic.
According to Yahoo Sports, ratings are always lower in initial return because not all markets have reported their viewing numbers. The outlet also reported Thursday Night Football held steady at around 6 million viewers when compared to last year.
NFL ratings may have dropped for a variety of reasons.
Survey Monkey surveyed 1,700 people on why viewers are avoiding the NFL. According to the survey, both people who oppose national anthem protests and support it are refusing to watch the league.
Around 32% of those surveyed are opposed to national anthem protests and support President Donald Trump’s view on the NFL. Meanwhile, 22% refuse to watch the games to “act in solidarity with the players”. Another 12% have boycotted the NFL because they feel the league has blacklisted former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Recently, Kaepernick called the NFL’s demonstrations “propaganda.”
Meanwhile, Fox Sports executive vice president, head of strategy, Michael Mulvilhill weighed in on the NFL’s ratings. Mulvilhill said while ratings fell in Week 1, the “average time spent viewing” was higher. He suggested that “casual viewers” have stopped watching NFL games, leaving behind a more “hardcore audience”.
“If you look at the composition of the audience – gender, race, income, market size, county size – there’s *nothing* to suggest a major shift in the type of person watching,” Mulvilhill said in a tweet. “Nothing that one might tie to a particular political point of view.”
A reason viewership may be down is because casual audiences are spending their time watching cable news. Mulvilhill said there’s a correlation between cable news increased ratings and the NFL’s ratings drop.
[H/T: Sports Illustrated]