Omaha, Omaha, ready, set, hut hut hut. Next Thursday, the Eagles and Falcons kick off the 17-week regular season of NFL Football. A lot of people have been squawking, including our president, about the ratings.
I don’t believe kneeling-gate or deflate-gate hurt the NFL ratings. It’s more the reality of the new-age world in which we live: It is cluttered, complicated, media-filled and short on any semblance of an attention span. No matter if the ratings are down, the NFL is still a super-powered media voice in the United States.
To me, there are really 3 main reasons the ratings have dropped:
- Too much football. There are NFL games Monday night, Thursday night and Sunday night. Plus a full schedule of college games. The season has expanded and when you add RedZone and Fantasy channels, the football audience is fragmented even further.
- Hard to count new metrics. How do you count people not watching at home? Nielsen has always been challenged with out-of-home audiences (at bars, dorm rooms, restaurants), but now there is a larger viewing public watching digitally. So networks like NBC are keeping track of their own numbers and reporting “Total Audience Delivery” including streaming delivery. It may not be independent reporting, but who has access to NBC’s digital metrics other than NBC?
- Too much of everything. Tom Brady says the ratings drop is not due to kneeling or too much football. He says there is too much of everything to consume, and that is the cause of the ratings slump. Tom admitted even he doesn’t pay as much attention to the NFL as he used to. I agree, with unlimited streaming of any program or movie and every book and magazine at your fingertips, it can replace watching Browns vs the Giants any day of the week.