FOX CEO blames ratings drop on oversaturation

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If the NFL spent as much time addressing the problem of decreased ratings as it does coming up with explanations for why things aren’t as bad as they seem (are), the problem may be fixed by now.

But the problem lingers, and FOX CEO James Murdoch has offered a theory regarding its cause.

“There’s a question mark for the NFL, which is just to think hard about how they’re licensing,” Murdoch said at the Paley International Council Summit in New York, via Jason Lynch of AdWeek.com. “So I do think the proliferation of Thursday availability — and the proliferation of football generally — does mean that you’re asking a lot from customers to watch Thursday. And then they watch a lot more college football games on Saturdays, and then on Sundays, and then on Monday Night Football, etc. It’s a lot. So I do think that preserving the scarcity value of those events and that audience is something that is worth thinking about.”

It’s definitely worth thinking about, even if the NFL at this point would never actually decrease the number of weekly viewing windows. Last year, for example, the Wall Street Journal reported that the league would be ditching the 9:30 a.m. ET London games, due to concerns with possible oversaturation. Then came the schedule, and three of the four London games this year were set to begin at 9:30 a.m. ET.

In response to Murdoch’s, NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart resorted to his political background and focused on not the message but the messenger. Via Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal, Lockhart pointed out to reporters during a Wednesday media briefing that Murdoch’s network currently doesn’t have rights to Thursday night.

“That may be one of the reasons why he pointed to Thursday night,” Lockhart said.

Or maybe, just maybe, Murdoch is legitimately concerned about the ratings issue, and the absence of a vested interest in Thursday Night Football allowed him to flash a little Corker-Flake independence.

Lockhart also disagreed with the substance of Murdoch’s assessment.

“We are not oversaturated, though we will always look at that,” Lockhart said.

It’s possible that a stew of factors and challenges have combined to impact ratings, and that the absence of scarcity now makes it harder to get people to flock to the games.

As the NFL grew into the juggernaut it became in the ’80s, the windows consisted of 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday, 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, and Monday night. Thursday football happened only on Thanksgiving and during the World Series, because the NFL didn’t want to pit Monday Night Football against the Fall Classic (amazingly, in hindsight).

Then came Sunday Night Football and NFL Sunday Ticket and Thursday Night Football and RedZone and Sunday mornings from London and NFL football is now everywhere. Likewise, college football (which in the ’70s was an even more rare commodity than NFL football) is everywhere — and the sheer volume of college games creates a greater raw number of exciting contests than the NFL has to offer.

As of two years ago, however, the NFL’s numbers were fine. Something has happened in the last two years, and the NFL needs to do something about it other than act like something isn’t wrong.

171 responses to “FOX CEO blames ratings drop on oversaturation

  1. The hardcore NFL viewer wants as many games as possible. It’s the casual fan that might face oversaturation issues. Who does the NFL want to cater to? I’m guessing it’s not fans like me that want to watch more rather than less.

  2. The NFL does not know how to connect with the Fans , we all watch the game to escape from the rigors of life and for the last few months we have had politics shoved down our throats. Leave that to the news stations.Anything the NFL does now is like putting on your seatbelt after the accident.

  3. “Something has happened in the last two years, and the NFL needs to do something about it other than act like something isn’t wrong.”

    Hmmmm, I wonder what that could be? What started 2 years ago that is driving fans away?

  4. Anything but the truth…..

    That’s not what the polls say.

    They make up a new excuse daily…

  5. Last year it was the election – now its oversaturation. The NFL was just surpassed by MLB in ratings and I think it’s hilarious. Keep denying the truth and lying about the real reason for the drop and you’ve sealed your fate. As it is you can wave tax payer money bye bye. Lmao.

  6. Not sure what the Sunday Ticket has to do with oversaturation.?.? Maybe, when you get to the negotiating table next time around you limit the number of viewing windows. Get rid of 9:30 AM London Games, 2nd opening week Monday Game and only play Thursday on Thanks Giving and bring back Saturday Games the last 3 weeks of the season.

    Problem Solved…Next.

  7. Of course the NFL spokesperson says that they’re not oversaturated. But if he actually believes that then the league has a larger problem.

    The 930 am games are annoying and are an obvious cash grab at a European market that doesn’t care, aside from a select few.

  8. Agree with him to a certain extent. I don’t need the combine. I don’t need to see the draft turn into a 3 day circus. The NFL is year round now, and sooner or later you get sick of watching it. It wasn’t that long ago the Super Bowl was mid January , the draft February and then that was it until July. You were longing for the season to start again. That’s no longer the case.

  9. He’s right.

    I can’t ignore my regular life dutiew on Thursday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday with the NFL. Ditch the Thursday games, ditch the 930 games and move Sunday night football up an hour, so people that work can actually finish watching the game.

    But they will never do that and in a couple weeks we will have football on everyday of the week with college football having their “MACtion” games during the week. It’s to much.

  10. Poor matchups on the London games is certyan anchor to the ratings.
    Plus the Giants horrible start in the NFL’s largest market must be considered.

  11. Oversaturation of socialism, which is probably the first time in history that hasn’t worked out great for all involved. *sarcasm detector explodes*

  12. There will be a bunch of rehashed reasons offered in the comments for this post but the nfl isn’t must watch tv anymore. Very little on tv is. It’s still number 1. But kinda like Taylor swift still hits number one despite the product being a lot worse. Its the best of the worst

  13. Too many London games and too many Thursday games. It wasn’t that long ago the Thursday games were rare and the league only had 1 or 2 London games. It would not hurt to start prime time games earlier. On the east coast they do not get done until 11-11:30 PM.

  14. There is 0 rythym to a broadcast. It feels like I see an average of 3-5 plays between commercials. Now you sprinkle in players laying back down for a sec after a play as another reason to break away…..even if they are walking off the field. Jerky Jerky makes me tune out if not my team playing.

  15. The product being put on the field is substandard compared to other seasons. Another reason is the over saturation of commercial advertising. Some commercials are ok but networks in their zeal for more profits are saturating the football programming with too many commercial ads and people are tired of it. Who in the hell wants to sit and watch three hours of commercial advertising??? It makes the games less enjoyable and is like Chinese water torture with all due respect to our Chinese friends and neighbors.

  16. I have 2 teenagers who have no idea on how to turn on the TV.

    Each generation is watching less and less and live with their phones, laptops and gaming and texting. Add the concussions and a percentage of parents who don’t want their kids playing and kids not bonding with the game and you have lower ratings.

    But the biggest issue is the cord cutting because cable and cell phones combined cost, is out of control. Something has to give. What gives is the cord cutting.

    To a real football fan, you can’t get enough. I don’t watch college but now I can only watch so many games because we don’t have cable.

    I liked it when it was on regular TV, owners didn’t sell out to make the max money and now it’s biting them in the you know what.

  17. I know I have been watching fewer games the past few years. For me, there are many reasons. I like good, hard-hitting, defensive football. The rules have made the game softer, and the NFL has slowly morphed into the CFL. And, if you lay a good hit on somebody, you get fined. The decline in practice time shows in the product on the field, i.e., poor OL play, sloppy tackling, poor qb-wr timing. And, let’s be honest, many Thurs night and MNF games aren’t must-see TV. They are must-miss TV.

  18. Oversaturation and a poor product on the field are the two biggest factors to me cutting my viewing drastically. It’s very tough to get excited about games that don’t involve the team I root for anymore. I used to spend all day Sunday watching football and then watch Monday night.

  19. I think it has more to do with the fact that except for 3-4 teams the league stinks period. A doubleheader with the jets/dolphins being the only game available at 1:00 in the northeast and then Pittsburgh/ Cinn snoozer at 4:00 ? This weeks barn burner thursday night debacle followed by a 9:00am snoozefest on sunday. League is Baaaaadddddd

  20. It’s simple math. I a 50/50 political environment, taking any political position (tacit or explicit) results in angering 50% of your audience. Being indicisive angers 90% of your audience and acting like you are clueless angers everyone.

    The fix? Simple – inside the stadium before during and after the game it’s football and ONLY football. Anything that distracts from the game is conduct detrimental to the game; which in this case is actually detrimental to the ratings and the game.

    Leadership at this point would be welcome.

  21. Would make sense if ratings were down on a specific day but the number of teams and thus games per week, regardless of day played, has been steady for a long time.

    Overall – people aren’t watching, regardless of how often it’s on. If you went back to just Sunday games – the amount of NFL in the market is exactly the same and numbers would still be down.

  22. You can blame it on anything you like. But if you hope to change the current direction, you might want to try the the TRUTH…which at the moment you’re missing by a mile.

  23. Hmmmmm….

    I can see a baseball game every night of the week during baseball season. Same for basketball and hockey. Outside of football and the zombie shows I can hardly find anything on tv worth watching. Maybe this guy should think about the reality show saturation instead.

  24. What a surprise. I’ve been saying that same thing for the past year. There is just too much football on TV. Of course there are other factors. But people are finally getting tired of watching every game. Personally I live on the east coast, and work early in the mornings. So I can’t ever make it to the end of the game, so I don’t bother to watch at all. I know a lot of other people in the same boat. If it had an earlier start and ended at a more reasonable hour, I would be more tempted to watch. I know an early start is a problem for the west coast, but if you are going to miss part of a game, wouldn’t you rather miss the beginning than the end?

  25. He is correct about over saturation.
    When I was a kid, the only places to see NFL highlights was at halftime on Monday Night Football ( which made it must see) or on NFL Films. Now they show them during other games, red zone, online as well as on multiple sports channels. Home games were Never on TV. This created demand.
    The league can decide if they are making more with fewer people watching individual games or more viewers watching fewer games.
    Kneeling protests are not helping you either.

  26. I don’t think it’s oversaturated at all. The NFL has the longest offseason, and the anticipation for the season is much higher than any sport. There isn’t enough football as far as I’m concerned.

  27. The problem can be summed up in 2 words. Roger Goodell. Time for that head to roll and for the NFL to hit the ole proverbial “refresh” button… I’ll buy the “NFL Ticket” again someday, but not until Goodell is gone.

  28. BS.

    Social justice garbage is reason #1

    Lousy football us reason #2

    Star players like Aaron Rodgers, JJ Watt, and OBJ out for year #3

  29. Talk to any of your conservative friends at work and ask them if they changed their NFL viewing habits in the last two years. Not really rocket science.

  30. It is 100% the truth. I’m a football fan going back 35 years now. It simply is over saturated. Mark Cuban said it was going to happen 3 years ago. Everyone dissed him as simply being upset because the NFL was more popular then the NBA. I think he got it 100% right.

  31. I still think we just reached peak popularity a few years ago when everyone and their mother was in a fantasy league, daily fantasy exploded and wasn’t illegal in half the country yet, and even the most casual fans were watching games all day. Nowhere to go but down in that regard. NFL is still BY FAR the most-watched thing on TV and will be for a very long time.

  32. its primarily because they ruined the game…same terrible refs blowing the same calls every year..they took the physicality out of the game which was one of it’s biggest draws..it’s a gladiator sport..way too offensive orientated…wayy too quarterback dependent & the colleges do the nfl no favors by producing terrible qbs.

    the ratings were dropping even before the protests…those were just the death knell

  33. refuse to watch Thursday night, Sunday night, and last half of Monday night games…definitely refuse to watch any international games…am content to simply read about those games and watch the Red Zone on Sundays (no ads!). When a 1 hr game with 27 minutes of action takes 3.5 hrs to 3.75 hrs to complete…you have a problem…

  34. All they have to do is look at the forum comments on this site. For over a year now, people here have been pointing out several valid reasons for the decline. Oversaturation being one. But the NFL really won’t care about how fans feel unless their profit margin keeps declining.

  35. Here are some reasons for the decline.
    1. Goodell is seen as a puppet of the owners. With the way the league has handled
    Deflate Gate, Ray Rice, Ez Elliot, Neil Downer they lost fans.
    2. Rich owners pulling out of St Louis and San Diego for money show what the league is
    about.
    3. The game is slow. Time Outs, it’s boring and not a game but entertainment. The
    NFL has lost the age group 20 t 28 who now watch NHL/ NBA.
    4. When players are arrested for domestic violence, DUI, failed child support, etc
    and it goes on every week, it gives the league a black eye.
    5. Concussions.
    6. When one of the rising star of the league on opening week scores a touchdown and
    then acts like he is a dog relieving himself in the end zone, WOW.
    7. Blind eye to approve NFL Vegas when gaming is frowned upon elsewhere.

  36. I don’t think its one thing. I probably agree there is to much, if you are asking for those people who watch it all. But generally people pick and choose what game(s) they want to watch. Some reasons I think contribute are other ways of watching other than cable. I do believe there is a declining interest in football in young people. I also think the NFL has done things to allegiant people. ( Protests, this insistence on games in other countries,( growing the market and the expense of those you already have)) And that is just a couple things off the top of my head.

  37. For myself, it has nothing to do with the politics of kneeling or oversaturation. I still love to watch (even if my team-the Jets-loose a bunch) . But…with all this nice weather here in the northeast and my team never playing a 4pm game, I just have other things to do. I seriously hate 1pm games, especially early in the season, and I can’t always get away with DVRing and not having somebody tell me ‘well the Jets blew another lead’. Sorry NFL, but if you want young fathers and home owners who have more to do with their families than sit on a couch, you’re going to have change some times around. As much as I love watching the game, I enjoy my time outside more.

  38. Could it possibly have anything to do with the fans are tired of watching people getting to paid to play a game telling us how we need to feel politically?

  39. Let’s see.. Let me think… Hmmmm.
    Two years ago.. what happened?

    Oh yeah – players started protesting racial inequality during the national anthem.

    I’m a Canadian and I’m still pissed at Dwayne Wade for taking free throws during our national anthem… and I’m still pissed that the Canadian Flag was hung upside-down during the 1992 world series.

    Regardless of my feelings about the cause they support, I think they’re picking a really lousy time to voice their opinions.

  40. Wrong.
    It’s because a bunch of pampered millionaires decide to use their place of employment as a platform to ‘protest’ for reasons unknown to them.

  41. The reasons in no particular order:

    1. Poor product on the field. Watered down.
    2. Too many flags. I can’t remember a punt where there wasn’t a flag.
    3. Too many new rules.
    4. Too many rules against hitting. Some people would watch football just for the big hits.
    5. Too many commercials.
    6. Too many long replay reviews.
    7. Too many ref huddles trying to keep the game “perfect”.
    8. Too much off-field drama with the players.
    9. Too many suspensions.
    10. Protests.

    There are many more reasons, but these are the 10 that popped right into my head. This game is in serious trouble in my opinion. Things are going to get worse before (if) they get better. So sad, this is a shell of the game that I remember growing up.

  42. That is one of many factors. These people are all trying to fixate on one thing for the drop when its a combination of a dozen different things.

  43. In response to the NFL’s (Lockhart) response, that is just another shining example of why some people are becoming increasing turned off to the NFL. Maybe not their teams, but the office and it’s arrogance. It’s best not to insult your customers and program carriers with dumb officiating explanations, inconsistant suspensions (still happening), and offending CEOs because they have an opinion.

    The hypocrisy and arrogance of the NFL office suck!

  44. Last year TNF was the byword for dull games.

    This year- many of them have been top notch.

    Maybe the Fox guy could get his pals in the newsroom to be less anti-NFL?

    Couldn’t hurt

  45. I agree- I remember when football was an exciting event. Thursdays, Sundays, Sunday Nights, Mondays and other NFL events- Overkill and not special anymore.. Product has grown old. This highly over compensated commish is missing the ship!

  46. Go back to Sunday’s at 1 & 4 and make Monday nights a real big deal again is a win win,,,the players are more on a schedule for optimum performance and we will appreciate it more again !

  47. hustlelikerussell says:
    October 25, 2017 at 3:55 pm
    “Something has happened in the last two years, and the NFL needs to do something about it other than act like something isn’t wrong.”

    Hmmmm, I wonder what that could be? What started 2 years ago that is driving fans away?
    _______________________

    I know right? but 2 years ago is a long time, it’s not like something happened then and has been pushed in our faces the entire time, I sure hope they can figure it out though!

  48. I agree. We now have Thursday night and Sunday night games. The NFL got greedy. And then they wanted 18 games which is absurd given the injuries,

  49. I think Thursday games have hurt the league. I used to like being able to wait until Friday/Saturday to worry about my fantasy team and whatever other NFL related things I had going on. I would dedicate Sunday to watching from noon until I went to bed after the Sunday night game. It’s tough to be as enthusiastic mid-week, not to mention justifying being parked on the couch multiple days a week.

  50. he’s got a point. Thursday night is worthless, and Monday night should have NEVER left ABC to go to ESPN. Put it back on ABC so everybody can watch it. I swear, some year, the Superbowl will be on ESPN or the NFL Network. College football is already pretty much ruined because the Championship is exclusively on ESPN. That sucks.

    I don’t watch like I used to because the HITTING aspect of the game is now scruitinized as being “dirty, unsportmanlike, violent.” “Can’t have players like that in the game, Joe!” “That QB/WR was defenseless, Jim!”

    Guys who played like Butkus, LT, Ed Reed, Sean Taylor, etc would be VILIFIED in the current NFL.

    I think that just flat out sucks.

    If you take away a huge component of the game, expect a huge following of the game to be taken away too.

  51. “Or maybe, just maybe, Murdoch is legitimately concerned about the ratings issue, and the absence of a vested interest in Thursday Night Football allowed him to flash a little Corker-Flake independence.”

    Which will have as much impact on Goodell as Corker-Flake are having on Trump. If Fox is so concerned then do not bid on the rights next time or pay the NFL the cost of the Thursday night rights to drop those games

    Be careful about telling your dealer how to sell the product

  52. I haven’t stopped watching as a result of the protests but it seems as if the league, media and their networks are trying to blame it on everything but the protests when we all know said protests and having Kaepernick crammed down our throats by every media outlet that covers the NFL, as if he’s the only NFL player ever to be out of work while he still wants to play, is the real problem

  53. And therein is your problem. Putting politicians in anything muddies the waters. Murdoch is on to something I’ve said for a long time. There is simply too much of it. The NFL no longer feels like an event but party of your routine and people get bored of routine. The problem is to figure that out you need common sense and practicality. I don’t think we would ever accuse a politician of having those traits.

  54. It’s true. Get rid of Thursday night and Sunday night and the bad London games.

    Sunday afternoon games (depending on where you live) and Monday night

  55. “Something has happened in the last two years…”

    Peyton Manning, Calvin Johnson, Charles Woodson, Troy Polamalu, Adrian Wilson, Ed Reed, Justin Smith, Lance Briggs, Steve Smith Sr and a few other notables: all retired in the last two years.

    Shortly before that, Ray Lewis, Donald Driver, Shawne Merriman, Brian Urlacher, Nnamdi Asomugha, etc.

    Quite a few of them will be getting gold jackets. When you lose so many superstars that took those TV ratings sky-high, you should expect those ratings to drop a bit after they have left.

  56. I’m definitely over-saturated. I know it’s not a popular option with people who respond to message boards, but I hate Thursday night football. There was something classic about Friday night Highschool, Saturday college and Sunday Pros. You also had the Monday night treat. Like a rhythm you could set a watch to all fall. Those days were sacred. Now nothing is sacred and it’s a free for all. People got greedy and it doesn’t feel as special. I watch my team consistently, but I don’t watch any more than that these days.

  57. I only watch my team, I dont make it an appointment to watch other games like I used to do. Parity, mediocre football, no kickoff returns,…glorified 7 on 7 drills being passed off as a NFL football game

    The NFL game has been tampered with too much. It’s not the great product it once was.

    Maybe it’s because my team sucks. Actually 98% or the teams in the NFL sucks. That’s probably the reason ratings are down.

  58. backintheday99 says:
    October 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

    But the biggest issue is the cord cutting because cable and cell phones combined cost, is out of control. Something has to give. What gives is the cord cutting.
    _____________________________________________

    Cord cutting explains the across the board ratings drop television has seen but it doesn’t explain the commensurate share loss the NFL has suffered. The share results have consistently shown of people that are watching TV fewer are watching the NFL.

  59. Something can’t be over saturated. Either it is saturated or… It’s not?

    Look, I refuse to blow my day in front of a TV, monitor or hand-held device. Aside from my team of choice, I’ll watch a good matchup. Otherwise..I’ll find something productive to do.

  60. I like the early Sunday games but can live without TNF and SNF begins too late. I can miss those games these days no problem, even when “my” team is playing. I stopped reading the articles in the local paper, as I don’t buy the local paper anymore. I stopped supporting the major networks after the election, and with the protesters I finally turned off cable completely. Good luck getting me to pay for a product I can get for free every time I turn around. Remember the music business?

  61. PK Subban (Nashville Hockey player) buys under privileged youth 10 tickets to every home game. He takes them out for dinner and makes them sit with a member of the local police force and a mentor.

    For some reason this initiative hasn’t given him national media attention and none of the Smashville fans hate him…

  62. – Don’t have games in London
    – Stop having three ads every time I want to see a highlight online.
    – Fire Goodell
    – Stop jobbing guys who were never charged for anything while gIving other guys one-game suspensions when you have video evidence and/or confessions
    – make it mandatory to stand or never talk about the damn issue again.

    Last year I would have said get rid of TNF. But TNF has totally redeemed itself this year.

  63. Completely agree. keep football to Sundays and Monday Night. get rid of all the Thursday games with the lame color rush uni’s and the Week 1 Monday night double header.

  64. I don’t think it’s oversaturation as much as it is that pretty much every means of watching the game has become annoying, expensive, fragmented, and/or hard to keep up with.

    Which games do you get to see on Sunday? Who knows. Which channel is showing an afternoon game? Who knows. Do you want Sunday Ticket, Red Zone, to watch on your phone, to see game replays, to listen to game radio broadcasts? Which online service is showing Thursday games this year, or this week? How many different networks and online venues does it take to broadcast one Thursday night game?

    It’s an annoying mess, where you have 30 different options that each entail their own hassles, logins, payments, schedules, etc.

    And if you want to see a game in person? Say hello to outrageous prices for everything, and maybe we’ll just move your team somewhere else.

    The NFL has grossly over-complicated and over-monetized everything.

  65. The two main factors threatening the league are – what is a catch (there is a perception that games are rigged), and poor play, which is related to the Thursday package. Clean up the rules, change the schedule so teams can get enough rest, and let teams challenge anything.

  66. – I like Thursday night games
    – I love 9:30 Bloody Mary London games
    – I agree with the poster above- they suspend the face of the NFL for 4 games and take away a #1 pick for an unproven event; OTOH, a nutjob shoves a referee and gets one game
    – Commercials are ruining the broadcasts
    – Fire Goodell
    – The guy who suggested that the NFL declined after Manning retired should write comedy
    – 10,000 empty seats in Jacksonville last week with a good team, it’s a military town…do the math
    – I have 10 season tickets; next year, none

  67. “romo2witten says:
    October 25, 2017 at 4:28 pm
    Are we seriously going to keep acting like streaming is having no impact on the overall ratings? When will someone address this part of the equation?”

    When I’ve watched games streaming on an app it’s usually always a network feed. They probably count those views towards the network. I’m not sure about Yahoo streams, but as they haven’t divulged those numbers, it can’t be good…

  68. Roger know’s what is best for the league: 4 more games! More bullcrap, no evidence suspension of star players! Add more teams! Dilute the talent! We need more refs, more flags, more stoppages in play, more commercials, more political input from players, fans, presidents and coaches!

    Can’t wait for 2018.

    /sarcasm

  69. A. The fans were already fed up with domestic viloence, peds and other knucklehead actions by players.
    B. CBA with practice restrictions, and roster size has resulted in a mediocre product.
    C. The CK issue has given ambivalent or disgusted fans just another reason to tune out but not the only reason.

  70. …also, nobody pays to see the zebras toss their flags all afternoon, so they ought to try curbing that. I was able to watch a couple of college games last week and there was only really two or three flags tossed all afternoon. The pros can’t do better?

  71. If the anthem respecters aren’t going to believe the FOX CEO, who are they going to believe? They look to FOX news for guidance on what to think in all other matters.

  72. Two years ago my team was moved and the NFL said “we don’t want you”. Now, I say “I don’t need you”. I watch about 10% of what I use to and don’t buy anything in the way of merchandise. When you move a franchise, you loose most of the viewership in that city. Where you move the franchise is probably already watching which is why you moved there so you don’t gain much! San Diego, Oakland and St Louis have recently lost teams. People in Jacksonville, Tennessee and maybe Miami should be concerned that they may be next. However, be assured that there is other interest besides the NFL.

  73. the ratings will not increase until KAEPERNICK is playing again

    —————

    This is quite possibly the most ridiculous thing I have heard in ages. I cannot believe someone actually processed this as a thought and wrote it. Crazy world out there…

  74. Should nix Thursday for sure and either Sunday or Monday night. I’d lean toward eliminating Sunday night.

    But all the major sports suffer this malaise of too much product; the NBA, MLB, NHL and NASCAR seasons should be trimmed by no less than two months. Don’t worry, Gen-Y will inform.

  75. This CEO and owners and league office don’t get it. fans are tired of all the extra crap, fines, suspensions, demonstrations, stoppage of play, inconsistent officiating, bad games, and bad apple players. Then throw in Colin Kapaernick self entitlement, players threatening to stop play, fans have had enough. Other things to do on Thursday night, Sunday and Monday evening. Even watching hockey is better.

  76. I haven’t watched a single game this year (yet I visit this site about 5 times a day). The root cause of it is basically oversaturation. Thursday night football made me realize how much time I spent (wasted) watching football every week and I made the conscious decision to spend it in better ways. Six or 9 hours a week didn’t seem like much but then it became 15 and that was too much for me.

  77. Lol, really? I think November 12 will undoubtedly show the media. The question is will the media be smart enough to recognize it or dumb enough to attribute it to nonsense.

  78. They need to bring the old kickoffs back. The beginning of the games are terrible. Anthem, commercial, coin toss, commercial, kickoff out the endzone, commercial. Its boring, and not worth watching.

    And if you miss the beginning of the game, you are less likely to watch the rest of the game.

    Remember when we had returners like Hester? No fan would miss the beginning of those games.

  79. TD Hawk says:
    October 25, 2017 at 5:57 pm
    Should nix Thursday for sure and either Sunday or Monday night. I’d lean toward eliminating Sunday night.

    But all the major sports suffer this malaise of too much product; the NBA, MLB, NHL and NASCAR seasons should be trimmed by no less than two months. Don’t worry, Gen-Y will inform.
    ——————————————————————————————
    Nonsense, the NFL even with decreasing numbers is still by far the most popular sport on TV, nix that show on TV. None of this was an issue until this season or maybe last. Maybe if the networks didn’t pay billions on top of billions for the product they wouldn’t have to air so many games. They spend tons of money and want someone else to bail them out for their ridiculous spending.

  80. Lots of people cutting the cord. And while I haven’t cut the cord yet I still watch less NFL than before. Replay has become a curse–too many reviews, too many debates over which contradictory rules MIGHT pertain to the play at hand, you can’t cheer anything because there’s a 50/50 chance some bad rule will overturn the obvious call.

  81. I have watched, and loved this game since the earliest days of the AFL. I don’t answer the phone or the door. Football is a team game that allows for the talent of individuals to be showcased. The game has history and it has an American heritage.
    These are my thoughts:
    1. Color Rush uniforms disrupt the heritage of teams.
    2. Too many interruptions during and inside the games result in a lack of continuity.
    3. The officiating is uneven. Make these people professionals and hold them accountable.
    4. Sunday Ticket is too expensive.

  82. “I think November 12 will undoubtedly show the media”.

    What is so special about November 12? Could it be that the anthem respecters have some type of lame boycott attempt planned? The only thing that will be “shown” is that the total number anthem freaks is ten people who repeatedly post here.

  83. In no particular order:
    *politics in football
    *thursday games
    *foreign games
    *constant rule changes to make the game “safer” and at the expense of some of the most exciting parts of football
    *refs. they should be seen and rarely heard from. So many rules now the ref’s are the stars of the show
    *And last but defiantly not least… goodells blatantly obvious favoritism of some teams/hatred of other teams. It appears punishments are decided by a formula of geographic distance from NYC and then parity, not on fairness. Also, goodells constant lying over everything.

  84. The NBA was great until the mood 2000s. The NFL is following the same trajectory.

    The NFL was great until 2 years ago and will continue it’s decline when you treat players better than you treat your fans who pay for ALL OF IT.

  85. I think that protest started two years ago..

    The product sucks. You lock at a quarterback wrong and a penalty is thrown. Where are the big hits?

    Kick off returns? Gone.

    Bring back the violence.

  86. “Less is more”.

    Yes, the increased political talk by a particular network (E!SPN) doesn’t help, but the truth lies in the fact that there’s just too many days of it. If Football is on Sunday, it’s special. One day a week that you can get your fix. MNF waters it down a little more – particularly because the NFL refuses to flex in decent matchups like they do with SNF.

    Then TNF comes along and it’s watering down the product even more.

  87. I know exactly what it is, it’s all the rule changes that are slowly changing football into two flag football

  88. itsnotforme says:

    It’s called kneeling or sitting for the National Anthem. Are you people blind or just stupid?
    ========================================================

    That’s like asking Hillary voters to admit she lost because Trump had a better message.

  89. Hmm it can’t be because disrespecting our country and flag let alone our military in front of Millions of viewers can it? How about racial devide with the fist in the air? Or price gowdging to see a game on direct tv going live to a game when 200 bucks for a ticket 9 bucks for a beer 50 to park. Millionaires crying because they don’t play… come work with me for a week and then rethink what u have. All lives matter!

  90. Block people have stopped watching. How many blacks are even on this site anymore? Players have even stopped loving the game over this. If players didn’t get paid, they wouldn’t play. This is going to deter youth leagues in the inner cities which will destroy the talent quality of the game.

    Congrats y’all.

  91. Over saturation is easy to see. Anyone trying to blame kneeling is not paying no attention; Sunday and Monday night football is still breaking rating records week after week, showing the issue has little overall effect.

    Cord cutting has to have an affect as well. People want to pay only for what they watch. The NFL has created a large barrier to entry by forcing Directv if you want to watch more than the market you currently live in.

  92. raidermantony says:
    October 25, 2017 at 7:24 pm
    Hmm it can’t be because disrespecting our country and flag let alone our military in front of Millions of viewers can it?
    ————-
    Apparently that isn’t a big enough issue to keep you from following NFL blogs. So I’m going to guess you watch your fair share of games every Sunday.

  93. The problem with the nfl , is that they are in horrible tv markets like pittsburgh an buffalo. Who would want to invest time in a game played in those cities, they look so depressing on tv, empty seats. Ugly dirty cities.

    They need to move lower end franchises , to great cities links Austin , Portland, Toronto, Vancouver . This would go along way to solidifying there product.

  94. End is near my keester. The NFL needs to crack a basic Econ textbook and look up “diminishing returns”

  95. Remember when they’d have a game start time? Now I says XX:XX but the truth is you get three hours of analysis, an hour of heartstring stories and 30 minutes of the on field announcers yelling at you. Then some over the top anthem production with a flyover, kickoff and a timeout because it takes 2 minutes to walk from the sideline, wait for the play to come in and then 23 seconds of the QB trying to get an offsides but instead a false start, a walk off of yards and we start it again. By then, I find myself watching the cat twitch in his sleep then I go do something else. I catch the news I need about the game on here.

  96. Not true. A real football fan loves their football, it’s the change in all the rules that have somewhat turned me off a little on a personal level. No more kickoff returns etc.

  97. I find myself watching more football than I’ve ever watched. I get every game, so I’m always picking the games with the good young QB’s. I also have the clicker, so I run each play back a few times to see what really happened. It’s awesome. Can’t get enough.

  98. It did happen two years ago. Something hit me. I told my brother (we’re both fans of over 45 years) – it doesn’t seem the same anymore. Must be the accumulation of years of slanting the game to the offense. Pitch and catch. Pitch and catch. And the penalties on nearly every kickoff return. Let the guys play, for pete’s sake.

    I hate London games. I cannot stand Thursday football – let’s have our Sundays and MNF and that’s it.

    I miss more games now than I watch. And it doesn’t bother me much. Not sure how my attention span will be for it next year. Worse this year than last, I can tell you. Just slipping away and it doesn’t really seem to make much difference. 5, 10 years ago I wouldn’t have dreamed I’d say that. But it’s true.

  99. Roger Goodell is killing the golden goose. A blind monkey could make money for the NFL. Time for a new leader.

  100. If the product was better, these babies would stop complaining ALL the time about everything, and protesting, I’d want MORE football, not less. “Oversaturation” is the only politically correct thing he could say. If he said any of these other reasons, the entitled crowd would be calling for his job!

  101. Cutting the cord for me is the primary reason. People are watching less TV via conventional providers. All the young men at my gigantic world corporation do NOT have cable. None. They have school loans, rent and use GAMING as their primary source of entertainment. TV is a waste of money in their mind and I agree. On top of all that there is pirating/streaming and apps tied to parents TV accounts which is their choice when they have a game they’re interested in. So I doubt very much Nielsen boxes etc are counting these people.

  102. My wife watches football once in a while with me. (Interestingly, Tebow was a player she loved watching and didn’t care about his flaws). She said a few weeks ago “no one wants to see them crying about whatever they are crying about when 50 people are getting killed in Vegas.” The other day she said “comparing themselves to slaves doesn’t really work for me.” The NFL can make all the excuses it wants. The bottom line is no one except SJWs (who hate football because of its toxic masculinity anyway) wants to see their protests. We want to watch the games. And whatever message they had became completely lost when the protests because generic anti-Trump protests. I’m 46 and haven’t missed an Eagles game since the 1970’s. I grew up in South Philly but live in Albuquerque now, and I’ve been to 3 of their 7 games this year, with at least 2 more to go. I’ve tuned out of all football shows and pre-game shows. I don’t want to hear about protests. I’ve watched less non-Eagles games than ever. When you’ve lost me….

  103. Nope, pretty sure it’s not saturation but other issues. WAS a hard core fan, Season Ticket Holder and could take it or leave it now. I know many who have attended games regularly for 30 years are no longer going and feel the same way.

    If the NFL was smart, they would play the National Anthem without the teams on the field like College. It would restore the sanctity of sports and my 3 hours of forgetting what’s happening in the world.

  104. I guess it could also be the eclipse….but wait, there is an election next year, maybe people are already not watching the NFL because of that….no, it’s hurricanes! That’s it, it’s hurricanes! No one watches the NFL when there is hurricanes!

    Goodell and his cronies are running this league into the ground. You can’t fix a problem if you refuse to look at the truth.

  105. Kneeling in alot more of the lack of viewers. Everyone I talk to says that they hate the players kneeling. Protest all you want just not during the National Anthem. The players kneelong are the players that have an opinion about everything. They are just rebellious attention seekers. When this first started tge blacks that were unarmed or supposedly innocent turned our to be wrong. Bennett, Baldwin, Eric Reid, lynch etc are all trouble makers. Always in the news. Oppressed millionaires if it wasn’t for this great country they would not be able to pkay a game and make more in one week than most make in years or a lifetime. They are suppose to be role models little kids are seeing tgem kneel tgen they kneel because the player is their hero and they don’t even know why they are kneeling. Real role models. Stand up America! !!!!

  106. I don’t know anyone who stopped watching because Kapernick was protesting police brutality. That is a false flag. A lot of these fans who say they stopped watching two years ago are also saying it is the bad play/too many penalties etc. If they stopped watching how do they know what the game looks like today?

    I do think they need to get rid of the Thursday night games and the London games. Hard for me to see either, TNF because of work and London starts too early.
    Also the TNF games jump up on you in the middle of the week, most pools lock you out when the first game starts and if you miss a whole week you can forget being in the running, so a lot of people lose interest in the pool and the games that are not their home team.

  107. I once described myself as an avid fan of the Denver Broncos and NFL living in a small market without an NFL team. So much so that I subscribed to Direct TV and NFL channel on Serius. Two years ago, when the NFL radio station was saturated with debates about deflate gate, I cancelled the NFL radio subscription. Last year, when the controversy surrounding kneeling began, I felt the NFL had become politicized and my interest waned. The 2017 season opened with Rich Eisen saying for the third straight year, the NFL season kicked off with controversy (Ray Rice, Brady, and Elliott) and that one needs a law degree to understand the legal matters surrounding most matters. I am not an avid fan of Goodells NFL and my interest has further waned. The international games are nothing but a cash grab. While the NFL expands its presence across multiple channels and days of the week, the politics and policies of Goodell continue to embroil the game in year round controversy. For that I have no interest. Direct TV is next to go.

  108. The ratings need to drop. If the fantasy noobs stop watching because they don’t like protests and injuries the game will just get better. It’s not going to affect The real fans in the slightest if ratings drop 7 points.

    Don’t care.

  109. If the NFL wants to find the real root cause of this problem, all they need to do is open this PFF post here and search the word “Cable” or ”Cut my Cable” or “cable too expensive”

  110. TNF needs to go away. Players missed it too often because they aren’t ready to play so soon. Where is the safety concern on that? Not much game planning, not enough practices. It is usually a sloppy game. I stop watching those a couple of years ago. But the NFL is determined to shove it down your throats.

  111. Too many crappy teams in the NFL. Even teams with decent records are sometimes crappy. Poor product as a whole. Too many team I guess.

  112. Sure Murdoch you don’t know, what a joke. Players disrespecting our National Anthem, networks not showing the National Anthem and politics/social issues being shoved down our throats. Get that out of the NFL, buy some adds so we can watch them or not. ESPN is a now a no go also, we don’t want your political opinions. Give us your sports opinions or just join CNN. Thank GOD for college football. TNF rating will be really bad and Veterans Day rating will be embarrassing.

  113. Funny Fox is crying about Thursday night, when they didn’t get a piece of Thursdays like CBS & NBC?

  114. I think people finally realized there’s better ways to waste their time

    You know, like living life and not sitting glued to a tv for half of the week

  115. “Where you move the franchise is probably already watching which is why you moved there so you don’t gain much! San Diego, Oakland and St Louis have recently lost teams. People in Jacksonville, Tennessee and maybe Miami should be concerned that they may be next.”
    ___________________________________________________________________________________
    Tenn maybe but not Jax (stuck in long term stadium deal) and definitely not Miami (team owns the stadium and are now spending over $400 million of their own money renovating it)…they aren’t moving anytime soon

  116. How about less rules:
    You can’t throw the ball away to avoid a sack, but you can spike the ball to stop the clock
    You can’t have hands to the face but RB’s can slap the helmet grab the face mask and stiff arm you to the helmet with no penalty.
    College football is just better now, period.

  117. Thursday games are not needed, It’s too much!! As a ticket holder I have to take a 1/2 day off and traffic and parking are terrible!!!!

  118. The way rules changes on tackling have softened the defensive side of the game, the lack of kickoff returns, the penalty flags over BS raining down, maybe too much team parity—-all reasons true fans have lost some interest.

    The more games the better….MLB and NBA games on every day, no saturation problems with that.

    Nobody in their right mind wants to hear spoiled millionaires with criminal records that would keep them out of flunky McJobs protest social injustice, but real football fans don’t watch the pre-game ceremonies anyway and just tune in for the real action. The casual fans are the ones who were just looking for some excuse for getting out of watching the NFL, and now they have it.

  119. They must have a sense of what demographic is leaving. That should help explain the drop.

    I still believe that the viewers that were gained due to the widespread popularity of fantasy football are leaving. They were never fans and it was just a fad to them.

  120. The whole “cord-cutting” theory is bunk. Streaming is nothing but a desperation play for people who don’t give a crap about any of the games being shown on any of those days.

    Nobody actually WANTS to stream, it’s too high-maintenance. Crappy picture, choppy feeds, buffering, locking up, restarting… Streaming is only a last-ditch effort by any fan to find a game worth watching.

    What we’re seeing here is pure, unadulterated cause and effect. We “anthem respecters”, as you call us, TOLD you many weeks ago that this would happen. And now that it’s here, it has nothing to do with us?

    Talk about willfully burying your head in the sand. What a joke.

    And then there are the “you say you won’t watch football but you still read articles on this site” morons. So what? Nobody kneels on this site, and reading about transactions is almost more fascinating than the games these days.

    We said we’d do it. We did it. It’s here. Believe me, it will get worse. Now you say we didn’t do it and ridicule us in the process.

    Keep it up.

  121. They must have a sense of what demographic is leaving. That should help explain the drop.

    I still believe that the viewers that were gained due to the widespread popularity of fantasy football are leaving. They were never fans and it was just a fad to them.
    =====

    Agreed.

    And surely they see the NBA is winning the Millenials.

    My nephews watch the Seahawks, thats about it. At their age, I couldn’t get enough of the NFL. Any of it. All of it… thats what the NBA is to them now. All their friends are the same way… and we don’t even have a team in Seattle anymore!!

  122. Thursday games are not needed, It’s too much!! As a ticket holder I have to take a 1/2 day off and traffic and parking are terrible!!!!
    =====

    Thats like buying a brand new car, then complaining about the brand new car you bought.

    You made a signifigant investment. THOUSANDS of dollars. Every team gets a primetime game, whether Sunday Night, Monday Night or Thursday Night. Surely you were aware of that.

    Sell your tickets if you can’t go, or don’t want to go.

    There are dozens of resources available to you for that very purpose.

  123. If the NFL wants to find the real root cause of this problem, all they need to do is open this PFF post here and search the word “Cable” or ”Cut my Cable” or “cable too expensive”
    =====

    I paid for Sunday Ticket for 14 years. I was glad to do so. It was the only way I could watch my team every week.

    I also got a chance to see the other must-see games.

    I cancelled this year. LONG before all this nonsense. And cost had nothing to do with it. It was the best money I spent all year!

    I’m losing interest in the product. That is the bottom line. I believe I’ve seen the best it has to offer.

    It has been a big part of my life, and I’ve enjoyed the h@ll out of it, so I hope I’m wrong. But I think Elvis has left the buidling.

  124. The Year 2020: NFL players, staff and ownership are playing in their new stadium: An old, abandoned Rio Olympic stadium lost somewhere deep in a South American jungle.

    “I wonder why the fans abandoned us?” they ask as they play for two coconuts apiece.

  125. There are a number of reasons for declining viewership. The NFL can take their pick as to which one to “blame”:

    1. Games have become too expensive for families to take their kids to. This prevents the NFL from connecting with their future fanbase at a young age, and directly affects their profit margins today.

    2. Players taking unpopular political stands while the league does squat to curtail the behaviour. A lot of fans (if not most) see the latest trend of “protesting” the national anthem merely the actions of a bunch of spoiled millionaires who are spitting on the flag of the only country in the world they can make a living from playing a kid’s game. A lot of these fans also have sons and daughters currently serving in the military which likely compounds this issue.

    3. The officiating has been god-awful. Who wants to pay several hundred dollars and/or a few hours of their life watching what should be a victory turn into a loss because the zebras are too inept to make correct calls? I have personally seen far too many bad calls that the replays show were clearly wrong, yet the league has done nothing to correct them. This is far more maddening to me than any slacktivism protests the players can come up with.

  126. Preachin’ on Sunday morning.

    Entertainment on Sunday afternoon – it’s been that way for many a long year now but the SJWs want to mix the two

    But

    The two DON’T mix, no matter how hard you try to shove the combination down OUR throats, and WE are the ones who pay for the tickets, the hot dogs, the beer, the souvenirs, the parking places, and the stadiums. The only way we have to make our voices heard is not spending (wasting?) our money on the increasingly mediocre product you deign to offer us.

    Why is that so difficult for you to understand?

  127. I would agree with this statement personally. But for me its more of an oversaturation due to the media. Sportstalk radio, internet, sportsTV, etc. It’s seems like a fricken soap opera with the deflategate debacle, or Ray Rice, or Odell Beckham taking a boat ride, or Zeke Elliot this year, and the protests.

    Not to mention the garbage officiating. WTF happened with Zach Miller in the NO v Chi game? Dudes knee gets blown up and they don’t give him a catch.

  128. Too many mediocre teams. Most are one sided, you either have offense or defense. Not a complete squad anymore.
    The officiating is gross. The refs don’t know what is and isn’t a catch yet. That is a basic play both QB’s throw it 70-90 times per game. They don’t know what a fumble is. Too many PI’s called. Pick routes are allowed when they shouldn’t be. The refs watch replay and still get the call wrong. Certain teams benefit more than others do with calls. The NFL is a poor product. So let’s add TNF.
    Ticket prices are high, concession prices absurd except in Atlanta – thank you Arthur for thinking of the fans. It is not a good time for the NFL.

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