In the 2016 season, the NFL’s decline in TV ratings didn’t translate to a decline in advertising revenue for the league’s TV partners. The same can’t be said for 2017.
Commercials on NBC, CBS, FOX and ESPN for regular-season games in 2017 brought in a total of $2.42 billion in 2017. That’s a lot of money, but it’s a 1.2 percent decline from the 2016 regular season, according to Standard Media Index.
“For the first time since we have been tracking the market we saw a slight drop of in-game dollars,” said SMI Chief Executive James Fennessy in a statement to the Wall Street Journal. “Despite a fairly significant fall in ratings, CPM’s were strong and demand continued to be high.”
The problem facing the league’s broadcast partners is that they increasingly have to give away “make good” commercials when NFL games fail to reach projected viewership totals. Also hurting the NFL was that the two industries that advertise the most on NFL games — automobiles and consumer electronics — both cut back on ad spending.