Are you ready for some football? Apparently not according to NFL ratings released Monday that show a 28% drop in viewers of Sunday Night Football’s week one game, according to Deadline. This year’s opening game featured a showdown between the Dallas Cowboys and LA Rams, two teams with massive fan bases.
That dip follows a 12% drop in viewers of the NFL kickoff game Sept. 10 between the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs and Houston Texans.
While Sunday’s figures do not include West Coast figures, it is a worrying trend for the NFL and NBC. The most painful figures come from the most important demographic: adults 18-49 which are key to advertisers. Last year, the Patriots versus Steelers drew 22.2 million viewers in that demo. Sunday’s game that number fell to 14.81 million key viewers.
It’s easy to see that political divide playing some part in the decline. As players and teams take on social justice issues such as Black Lives Matter and police brutality, some fans have taken to criticizing the league. Some 17,000 fans booed Chiefs and Texans players after they locked arms in unity after the national anthem during Thursday night’s matchup.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last week that he feared a potential fallout over protests.
But that’s likely only part of the problem. Without the NFL preseason, which was cut because of COVID-19 precautions, hype around this season has been muted. The league is also competing with the NBA and NHL playoffs. Both of which normally take place earlier in the summer but had to be postponed because of the coronavirus.
Twitter reacts to NFL ratings decline
Regardless of why, there are plenty of people celebrating the NFL ratings decline.