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Draft ratings still solid, but down sharply

TheOffice AP

When it comes to TV ratings, the NFL rarely if ever has to employ the spin cycle that has been working overtime when it comes to the lockout.  The numbers have been going up and up and up, and the growth always speaks for itself.

This year, the trend has reversed itself.  Sharply.  The ratings dropped by 22 percent for Thursday night, with an average audience of only seven million viewers for round one.

And so the excuses are subtly-but-surely emerging.  The draft was competing with shows like The Office and Big Bang Theory and American Idol, not to mention the NBA playoffs.

It doesn’t matter.

There are always other viewing options when NFL programming takes to the airwaves.  And fans usually make their preference for pro football known, loudly.

This year, the only fact that really matters is the comparison of last year’s audience to this year’s.  Viewership dropped by 22 percent.

Hopefully, the NFL and the players will realize that the lockout and the antitrust litigation and a general sense of upheaval and confusion caused the drop.  Even more hopefully, this will serve as a proverbial bucket of ice water on Tim McCarver’s head.

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26 Responses to “Draft ratings still solid, but down sharply”
  1. gvots says: Apr 29, 2011 7:37 PM

    Thank God. I was really hoping folks would make their displeasure known by not tuning in. Especially after the “worldwide leader” predicted higher than ever viewership. This should make the brass sweat. A little.

  2. sdboltaction says: Apr 29, 2011 7:43 PM

    I was between TNT (Lakers whoopin’ ass baby), ESPN, and NFLN….

  3. ntr0py says: Apr 29, 2011 7:44 PM

    Seriously? One draft goes up against the finale of office plus American Idol, the other doesn’t, and you don’t think that is an enormous factor?

    I certainly expect that true viewership is down. But considering the competition -22% is a hell of a lot better than I expected.

  4. fedupsaintsfan says: Apr 29, 2011 7:52 PM

    I refuse to watch even more now that a judge has ruled in favor of another lock out!!!!

  5. nineroutsider says: Apr 29, 2011 7:59 PM

    I didn’t watch, but I can’t lie…I checked PFT to see what my Niners were up too.

    All we can do is tune it out. The owners are betting that even if they miss games, as soon as the league is open, we will all tune in…and probably a safe bet.

    Maybe some blackouts, or fanouts, will be the punishment the fans dole out to the NFL. I hope they do….

  6. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Apr 29, 2011 8:00 PM

    How about these Redskins trading down. Nice. Sorry we couldn’t get Ponder in the 2nd, but they’ll take Mallett if they can in a few picks.

  7. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Apr 29, 2011 8:03 PM

    Is Chris Burman on drugs? Has he been taking those pills from north of the boarder again? He’s jokes are all off and it’s almost like he’s rambling. Am I off?

  8. stixzidinia says: Apr 29, 2011 8:03 PM

    Well looks only 1/5th the NFL fanbase has any backbone or dignity. The rest are the lowest common denominator in American society.

  9. siggy00 says: Apr 29, 2011 8:04 PM

    The draft during the week is stupid. Just another in a long list of bad decisions by Wilhelm Goodell.

  10. sf987 says: Apr 29, 2011 8:07 PM

    Maybe people are tired of the blathering and blabbering on ESPN. I’m watching NFLN this time and enjoying it immensely

  11. grandsonofcoach says: Apr 29, 2011 8:07 PM

    After the decertification and then the lockout I decided to boycott the dr… okay scratch that. I decided to only watch the first… okay scratch that… I decided to turn on the second round but ignore the TV most of the time. Take that NFL.

  12. rockstart42 says: Apr 29, 2011 8:23 PM

    Having it start on Thrusday night is the worse idea. It was bad enough it was Friday night but ok we can deal with that but Thrusday night… come on.

  13. omniscient48 says: Apr 29, 2011 8:58 PM

    That’s what happens when you have to compete with the Royal Wedding (zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz).

    Though that Kate Middleton is truly a babe.

  14. beerndonuts says: Apr 29, 2011 9:46 PM

    stixzidinia says: Apr 29, 2011 8:03 PM

    Well looks only 1/5th the NFL fanbase has any backbone or dignity. The rest are the lowest common denominator in American society.

    —————————————————–

    If you want to punish yourself because the owners and players can’t get along, then stand on your soapbox and demean everyone else for not doing the same, that’s your decision.

    I, for one, don’t feel the need to be a flagellant. I’ll enjoy, and am enjoying, the draft, and when this whole mess is over, I’ll watch the NFL as enthusiastically as ever.

  15. bobulated says: Apr 29, 2011 10:42 PM

    Why is Chris Berman in that “The Office” publicity shot?

  16. CKL says: Apr 30, 2011 12:38 AM

    I hope they also take these down ratings as a reason to move the draft back to Sat and Sun only where it belongs.

  17. lanjoith says: Apr 30, 2011 1:08 AM

    Goodell has ruined the draft for the diehard followers. There was nothing better than sending the wife and kids to the inlaws, stocking the fridge with junk food & beer and baracading myself into the basement as I watched two days of the draft. I loved the 1st round being 15 minutes per pick and if a trade was made the team got another full 15 minutes and round 1 lasting over 8 hours. I loved the first 3 rounds on Saturday and 4-7 on Sunday. It was a weekend event that I always looked forward to for a year.

    The average fan never watched the whole draft in the old format and still doesn’t in the new format but there were thousands upon thousands of fans that spent every minute glued to the TV.

    This 3 day format and quicker rounds has taken away something I use to love.

    Goodell is slowly ruining the NFL and I can honestly say something that I could have never imagined saying 5-6 years ago … I might stop watching the NFL. Pretty soon you won’t be able to touch a QB or tackle anywhere but around the waist.

  18. rcali says: Apr 30, 2011 1:13 AM

    Put it back on the weekend.

  19. nflconspiracytheoristdeluxe says: Apr 30, 2011 1:40 AM

    Nice start. You know that the $9 billion pie that they’re arguing about is OUR money. Even the network $, who get their money from the sponsors, who in turn, get their money from US, the consumers.

    WE have more power than either the owners or the players and can make a bigger difference in this mess than everyone thinks. But many of us just can’t bring themselves to make the difference becuase we’re too _________ (insert descriptive adjective here).

    So tell me what’s 22% of $9 billion? (Hint: it’s about $2 billion)

  20. Canyonero says: Apr 30, 2011 1:55 AM

    The first night didn’t end until 11:40 p.m. Thursday night here in Pittsburgh.

    Yeah, people love the NFL but people also have to go to work in the morning.

  21. skimbell says: Apr 30, 2011 5:40 AM

    Listening to those three morons that ESPN put on camera can’t be helping. Berman’s in outer space, Chuckie hates everyone and Kiper is, well Kiper.
    Worst group I’ve ever seen doing the draft.

  22. pigeonpea says: Apr 30, 2011 12:15 PM

    lanjoith says:
    Goodell has ruined the draft for the diehard followers. There was nothing better than sending the wife and kids to the inlaws, stocking the fridge with junk food & beer and baracading myself into the basement as I watched two days of the draft. I loved the 1st round being 15 minutes per pick and if a trade was made the team got another full 15 minutes and round 1 lasting over 8 hours. I loved the first 3 rounds on Saturday and 4-7 on Sunday. It was a weekend event that I always looked forward to for a year.

    The average fan never watched the whole draft in the old format and still doesn’t in the new format but there were thousands upon thousands of fans that spent every minute glued to the TV.

    This 3 day format and quicker rounds has taken away something I use to love.

    Goodell is slowly ruining the NFL and I can honestly say something that I could have never imagined saying 5-6 years ago … I might stop watching the NFL. Pretty soon you won’t be able to touch a QB or tackle anywhere but around the waist.

    My thoughts exactly! Our weekend draft party used to be the highlight of the offseason. Now I just check the Packers picks on Monday morning. Thanks Rog!

  23. mataug says: Apr 30, 2011 12:39 PM

    I only watched it till the Colts picked Costanzo (or is it Costanza ?).
    Am pretty sure that many Panthers stopped watching it after Newton was picked, they did not have a pick till late Friday night and who’s gonna watch 3rd rounders getting picked on a Friday night ?

  24. mackie66 says: Apr 30, 2011 3:37 PM

    I use to watch the NFL draft when televised by ESPN on Saturday afternoon. It was lively and moved quickly. I knew who my team had taken with all 7 rds. Now it takes days to complete and I have other things to do. So why did the powers that be at NFL headquarters move the draft to Firday night,,Saturday? I guess the NFL figures no one has a life and the NFL is the only game in town? What a large mistake. I havent and will never watch another minute of the NFL draft.
    Lets do Fishing/SCUBA diving.

  25. ktfulmer says: Apr 30, 2011 10:24 PM

    I wish they would get rid of the new format. I used to host a draft party with many out of town guests. Thursday night for round 1 has killed that. Nobody goes, “Yeah, I will be at your party Saturday for Rounds 4-7.” Roger Goodell, you sir are a jerk.

  26. possiblecabbage says: Apr 30, 2011 10:27 PM

    First, I’m going to cop to watching every single minute of all three days of the draft, as I have for the past six years or so.

    I’m wondering, however, how the ratings for the draft depend on the perceived quality/notability of the top prospects. Since this the perceived strength of this draft was mostly in defensive ends and run-stuffers, who aren’t usually guys who grab headlines, and there weren’t compelling-to-the-casual-observer storylines like “Where will Tebow go?” I would expect some kind of dip in the ratings anyway.

    It’s hard to really compare far back though since we’ve only been in the prime time format for a few years. I’m wondering, though, how the ratings for a draft studded with stars (like 2006) compares to the ratings with a somewhat less glamorous-at-the-time draft (like 2007). Also, what may be telling are the day 3 ratings, since only the obsessive weirdos like me watch the draft to the very end.

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