Sunday’s Giants-Broncos game had far less appeal than it may have had, given the 0-5 record of the New York team entering the content. But it was still enough to spark an improvement over last year’s Sunday night game from Week Six.
Via SportsBusiness Daily, the overnight rating for Sunday Night Football increased to 10.9 from 9.0 a year ago in the same window. The 21.1-percent increase looks good in isolation, but last year’s Colts-Texans game also was the least-watched Sunday night game of the year.
Regardless, if the league’s detractors will point to year-to-year declines without regard to other factors, it’s fair to also consider evidence of a year-to-year increases among broadcasting windows as a positive. Unfortunately, that’s the only positive for the NFL from Week Six.
For the other Sunday windows, the numbers dropped from 2016. The Steelers-Chiefs game on CBS drew a 14.0 rating, down nearly 20 percent from last year’s Cowboys-Packers 17.4.
As the ratings slumped in 2016, many believed (hoped) that it was a one-year aberration, fueled by unprecedented interest in the presidential election. A post-election bump in the ratings contributed to the sense that, come 2017, normalcy would return.
For whatever reason, it hasn’t. And it’s incumbent on the league to figure out why it hasn’t, and what it needs to do to make it happen.
In an era where so much time and money has been spent trying to built interest in the NFL in other countries, the league possibly has taken for granted the saturation of the U.S. market. Based on the ratings from the last two seasons, it’s arguably time for the spouse of the administrator of the now-defunct @forargument account to come up with a way to lead the league back to where it was in 2015.
For starters, reaching a permanent solution to the anthem controversy on Tuesday won’t hurt.