Pro Bowl TV ratings down, again

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The Pro Bowl was on ESPN Sunday night, and people were watching. But not as many people who watched in the past.

The Pro Bowl drew a 5.0 overnight rating. That’s down from 5.6 last year and significantly down from the 6.7 rating the Pro Bowl got in 2014 when it was on NBC.

Per Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily, that’s likely the lowest rating ever for the Pro Bowl.

A 5.0 rating means millions of people still watched. But with the Pro Bowl already under fire for not being competitive or compelling, these declining ratings could test that the thought that the game will continue to exist as long as people are watching.

111 responses to “Pro Bowl TV ratings down, again

  1. “The Pro Bowl was on ESPN Sunday night, and people were watching. But not as many people who watched in the past.”

    ….because it is TERRIBLE.

  2. It is just dumb, from the stupid draft down. If they continue it they should go back to the way it used to be. In Hawaii, NFC vs AFC. Maybe make it a couple weeks after the superbowl and include the superbowl teams. Maybe throw some type of QB challenge in during the week before the game.

  3. Heres why the ratings are down- they dont play hard. A waste of time. Case in point A.Peterson had 4 carries for 5 yds., really. Either make it a 100,000 winner take all or go back to the competition of the stars type of competition. Obstacle course, weight lifting, running, throwing, tug of war, and so on. But right now the pro bowl is boring. The NFL needs to figure it out.

  4. The quality of the game has always been poor — the difference this year is that so many top-tier players backed out or missed the game due to the Super Bowl. I mean how many people do you think were really tuning in to watch Jameis Winston and Tyrod Taylor battle it out? I wouldn’t even watch a Bucs vs. Bills regular season game.

  5. I stipped watching a couple years ago. When i was a kid it was a big deal. The best players in the league all played, and the best coaches coached. There was bragging rights at stake. Now, the best players all worry about breaking a nail in the game, so the top 20% of the league doesn’t participate. Then, the crappy player they do get to play the game demand way more money for being a pro-bowl player. Everyone in the league is a Pro-Bowl alumni now

  6. You told us if we wanted a change to not watch it so that’s what we did. I’m still holding out for the skills competition. I wanna know whose the fastest star player. I wanna know just how far Cam and Big Ben and Wilson can throw the ball. Who has the strongest o-line. Then if you still want a game 7-7 make it like the NHL and just have a show.

  7. It used to be that I had a team to root for when it was NFC versus AFC. Now, I need a program to know which team has the players from my home team. The game is completely meaningless and I could care less who wins. Trying to watch the silly carnage seems to insult the integrity of Pro Football. It doesn’t deserve to exist.

  8. They should pit the losers of the Championship game instead. The winner would get the losers draft position and vice versa. That’s not a lot to play for but a team can boast that they were 3rd best that season rather than an also ran.

  9. Bring back the skills competition like they ha years ago. Do that on Saturday then on Sunday hold a 7 on 7 tournament between all of the divisions.

  10. The whole thing sucks, the draft sucks, the drafters suck, the non-conference format sucks, the players don’t play, most of the players that get selected don’t go. And the game is game in name only, nobody is actually playing football.
    Scrap the entire thing, make the “Pro-Bowl” a title only and assemble the named players for a skills competition at their position.
    When a lineman can brag that he can dead lift more weight than any other lineman in the NFL, he will show up to claim bragging rights. Same for the fastest WR…or which QB can throw the farthest.
    Do that, and people will start watching again. I know I would. And move it to the week after the SB so that players in the SB can still show up to compete.

  11. And how many of those people that drove the rating were tuned in for the entire game? 3%? How many flipped it on for one minute, like me? 97%?

  12. I didn’t even watch nor knew what time it came on, my guess is the thousands of bars across the country had it on which inflated their “viewership”

  13. Putting it on network tv instead of ESPN would probably up the ratings as not everyone subscribes to ESPN. A lot of viewers do not pay for sports programming. However, the game is a bummer and not a true all star game. It needs some tweaking or it needs to be canceled.

  14. I turned it on, David Carr threw a long pass to TY Hilton for a touchdown. Instant replay overturned that decision on an exhibition game, proceeded to find something more entertaining to watch.

  15. Attention Mr Commissioner – the ratings were down because it was absolutely terrible to watch. One of the Defensive players accidentally tackled an opponent and immediately apologized. With so many players pulling out, we are now getting down to the average guys making the Pro Bowl and they will expect to be paid as Pro Bowlers from now on. Please stop this charade of a game.

  16. For a league that takes itself way too seriously and shuns individuality, it’s hard to imagine them ever putting on an entertaining Pro Bowl. You’re never going to get guys to go all-out in a “tackle” football game unless the stakes are high. If you don’t want to raise those stakes and want it to be fun, then you need to change the format. Those are your only two options.

  17. no interest in watching – haven’t watched in years. This isn’t football, even close.

    NHL 3-on-3 was exciting, fast paced. And I could really care less about NHL.

  18. When you have the 11th choice for QB in the game. I will pass. They should just give out the honors and call it a day. It’s watered down bigtime.

  19. stealthjunk says:
    Feb 1, 2016 12:25 PM
    The quality of the game has always been poor….

    You are obviously very young because when I was a kid this game mattered to the players and the players played like it mattered…

  20. if the league wants people to watch, they need the top players in the game (instead of backing out with injuries). Jameis Winston & Tyrod Taylor? C’mon man! Neither of them should have even been in the game.

  21. I liked the pro bowl this year. The only thing that really made me shake my head was instant replay in the pro bowl. Why??? It’s like who cares. It is an all star game.

  22. Tyrod Taylor was actually a pro bowler. LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.

    The NHL just suspended a guy for missing their all star game. If you want to showcase your NFL game then get the best players there and make it mandatory to attend like the NHL.

  23. squackduckhawk says:
    Feb 1, 2016 12:27 PM

    I stipped watching a couple years ago. When i was a kid it was a big deal. The best players in the league all played, and the best coaches coached. There was bragging rights at stake. Now, the best players all worry about breaking a nail in the game, so the top 20% of the league doesn’t participate.
    Unless I was a player that wanted the exposure, I wouldn’t play either … too much at risk and in fact has ended a players (Robert Edwards) career.
    When I was a kid in the 60’s, there was the “playoff bowl”, whereby the runners up played for “third place” … total waste of time. I’d bet the Colts may want to reinstate the playoff bowl.

  24. You need a team to cheer for! Seeing players from your favorite team on both sides makes it impossible.
    The only thing Dumber than the person that chose this format….is the Person that OK’d it!
    I remember when I was a Kid it was an all day event,
    all week there were player challenges for speed strength,Catching ability (before the stickum gloves) and a QB challenge. Those programs were shown before the game. Heck for a couple years there was even an NFL Arm wrestling competition.
    It was a Week long Celebration that added interest in the game. The way it is, I will pass.
    Why the Hell won’t the NFL listen to the fans and give us what we want? It sounds like someone in charge
    is in a Play my game, or I’m taking my Ball home mode

  25. You can thank Roger Goodell and his silly take that “all change is good” for this nonsense.

    The game is never going to be a ratings bonanza. However, putting it back the way it used to be, AFC vs. NFC, and play the game AFTER the Super Bowl so you’re not automatically excluding a significant number of players, throw in some incentive to win the game (money for the winning teams charity?) and you might get some of those ratings back.

    But pulling into two “teams” consisting of two Hall of Famers conducting a draft reduces the game from exhibition to sandlot pickup. It was one more bad idea from a commissioner who is in over his head.

  26. Even preseason games where a team’s usual starters sit on the bench are more meaningful than the Pro Bowl.

    I propose that Daylight Savings Time begins at the end of halftime of the Pro Bowl….if you’re going to lose an hour of sleep….this is the best time for it.

  27. Couldn’t watch the Pro Bowl. Just couldn’t take it. LOVED the NHL all-star game though. It even had some contact and defense played (gasp!). It was re-vamped this year as well, and it looks like they found the formula that works (for now).

  28. …..the seats in the stadium weren’t even full…what does that tell ya??

    Impossible to watch on TV, but, if you were IN paradise, sunshine, 80 degrees, would you give up 3-4 hours of that, to watch this train wreck, IN PERSON?

    I’d rather walk across the lava fields!

  29. I will forever be against the pro bowl.

    I want to see all the nominated Pro Bowl players go through the latest american ninja warrior course.

    If the NFL did that, ratings would be through the roof.

  30. Move the game to two weeks after the Super Bowl, give the players more financial incentive to play (the NFL can most certainly afford it), and maybe you’ll get most non-injured voted in players who should be there at the game.

  31. It’s the least compelling game of two-hand-touch you’ll ever have the misfortune to watch. Players not showing up for the game is a big deal, but even more important is the stupid rules. No blitzing. No penalty for intentional grounding. No tackling. And the game actually becomes ONE-hand touch in the 4th quarter…

    Who the heck would ever enjoy that “game”?! The Pro-Bowl no longer features any “pros” and there certainly isn’t any “bowl” atmosphere (unless we’re talking about the toilet variety). Fans would love to see the pro bowl if the guys that made the pro bowl actually showed up and actually played hard. Because of the risk to injury, that will never happen again. And because of that, the pro bowl should never happen again.

  32. Nobody watched and nobody went. Did you see the empty seats? Bring it back to the states and hire someone who knows how to promote, cause the product and performance is subpar.

  33. marktpitman says:
    Feb 1, 2016 1:40 PM
    I will forever be against the pro bowl.

    I want to see all the nominated Pro Bowl players go through the latest american ninja warrior course.

    If the NFL did that, ratings would be through the roof.


    I don’t think any of them could make it unless you made it easier. All of the winners are the small & wiry type with astounding grip strength. The current ANW course isn’t big-guy friendly.

  34. scoops1 says:
    Feb 1, 2016 12:46 PM

    a lot of men turned in their man card last night to watch Grease Live instead last night

    I’d say that these days, the Pro Bowl is less manly.

  35. I watched a bit of it, I like seeing these players one last time. Except for Odell dancing, I could do just fine not seeing him dance for the entire offseason.

  36. Guys in the same helmets won’t hit their teammates. Period. This whole drafting FFB style is just dumb. Go back to AFC – NFC, winners get 50k personally and 100k for a charity of their choice. Loser gets 50k for charity of their choice. Players can’t decline unless they are certified injured. Make it two weeks after SB.

    Even with all of that…an all-star game in a league that is so taxing on the players bodies probably won’t last. The end of the Pro Bowl was written in 1998 when that kid from the Patriots blew out his knee.

  37. I knew it was a waste of time to watch when I read who the QBs were going to be… Preseason games are more interesting than this so called “pro bowl!”

  38. Two main reasons:

    1) Obviously, it’s kind of lame to watch NFL players play two-hand-touch. A little too casual. The players don’t want to be there, either. And that ties into #2:

    2) Huge lack of star-power. No one wants to participate. So many big names excluded, and then there are players like Tyrod Taylor, Derek Carr, and Teddy Bridgewater as quarterbacks. The leading receiver is from the Jaguars. The top three rushers combined for a whopping 89 yards, from the Raiders, Falcons, and Buccaneers… Just an ugly game to watch.

    I think they could benefit from holding it several weeks after the Super Bowl, so the players might actually want to play, and the fans might actually want to watch.

  39. Well, it appears to be unanimous. Of 55 comments here, 54 were vehemently against the Pro Bowl, citing good logical reasons. When will the NFL wake up and simply do away with this joke of a game.

  40. jusford says:
    Feb 1, 2016 1:44 PM

    Nobody watched and nobody went. Did you see the empty seats? Bring it back to the states and hire someone who knows how to promote, cause the product and performance is subpar.

    Hawaii is a state.

    The Pro Bowl used to be the cherry on top of the NFL season.

    Sandwiching it between the championship games and the Super Bowl was a dumb decision. Having two bozos pick teams playground style, and mixing the conferences was also a dumb decision.

  41. They should play the pro bowl in May. No one wants to watch a weak exhibition match during the pinnacle of the football season (playoffs). But if they played in May – when folks are starved for football – I bet the ratings would go up.

    February – Super Bowl
    March- Free Agency
    April- Draft
    May- Pro Bowl

  42. the only people who put the Pro Bowl under fire are the same morons who say it should be canned every year. Meaning you guys. if millions are still watching, get over it.

  43. Exhibit #1 in the case of the People vs. The NFL in the elimination of the Pro Bowl.

    ‘Your honor. I have a brief statement I would like to make to the court. Tyrod Taylor was named to the Pro Bowl’.

    ‘I rest my case’.

  44. Plus playing in May would allow all these injured players to heal and the Super Bowl players could also participate.

  45. In the last 20 years I watched 15 minutes one time, just to see what it was about.

    They should instead have fans vs the Pros.
    A bunch of us get to tackle Marshawn Lynch. Or a bunch of us get to block JJ Watt.

    Whats the over – under for how many of us are hospitalized per play? 1? 2?

  46. Anyone watch the fans that actually paid to be at the game? I only watched for about 10 minutes and those that had not left and were still at the game LOOKED like they wondered why they were still there and had not gone with the guy next to them that left. Hope tickets weren’t too steep.

  47. I can’t believe that it even garners a rating. I literally know of no one that watches it. When I saw a article called “Who will win pro-bowl MVP?” I laughed so hard I had to hit the bathroom and do a paper check. There’s no football involved and zero entertainment value so WTF? Kind of like the UN, just exists to have a banquet for the ambassadors.

  48. The fact that it was basically two-hand touch by the 2nd quarter may have had something to do with that.

  49. I’m very happy to report that I did not watch a single thing relating to the so called “Pro Bowl”. I used to watch it. Then I only watched the first half. Then I just watched the beginning to see the best players. And finally it became so bad to watch that I had to stop. They pulled me back in with the “Pro Bowl Draft” for a year, but again, I only watched the beginning of the game because it was so bad.

    Unfortunately football is a violent sport. I understand, players could lose millions of dollars due to something crazy in a meaningless exhibition. So they won’t play full tilt. I’d do the same.

  50. “The Pro Bowl drew a 5.0 overnight rating. …and significantly down from the 6.7 rating the Pro Bowl got in 2014 when it was on NBC.”

    As if this surprises anybody.

    Games on cable will always have significantly lower ratings than broadcasted games. For proof, compare ratings of the last week CBS simulcasted TNF against the first week it was exclusive to NFLN. Then do that again for the 2014 season.

    You’ll notice that ratings tumbled both seasons after TNF went exclusive to NFLN.

    You want more eyeballs on the Pro Bowl? Broadcast it.

  51. kfoyo808 says:
    Feb 1, 2016 1:05 PM
    no interest in watching – haven’t watched in years. This isn’t football, even close.

    NHL 3-on-3 was exciting, fast paced. And I could really care less about NHL.


    If you enjoyed that, you should watch a playoff series sometime.

    Even though I’m a hardcore hockey fan, I had no plans or interest in watching this game. In fact, I think the only one I’ve watched in the past decade was the first NHL Fantasy Draft (yes, the NHL had this before the NFL), but that was strictly out of curiosity. The game itself was the same boring snore fest that it has been for decades. This year was different. Admittedly, I only watched it for the John Scott sideshow controversy, but that aside – I was pleasantly surprised at how exciting the tournament style 3-on-3 format was. The NHL should get on their knees and thank John Scott for his stubborn insistence on attending, otherwise, many of us would have never tuned in. I can’t believe that I am going to say this, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s ASG.

    Obviously the NFL can’t copy this format, but it’s clear that they need to do something radical – even if it doesn’t look like a traditional football game.

  52. It is unbelievable that a league that has it’s prime time regular season games out draw the World Series and Stanley Cup finals, has an all star game that gets out drawn by the “NBA skills competition” and the “Home Run Derby”. If that doesn’t tell you how bad it is I don’t know what will.

  53. What’s up with the ex-players/so-called sports analysts picking the teams? Are we supposed to root for Irvin’s team over Sanders’ team over Rice’s team or Carter’s team? I could care less about those guys analyzing football let alone drafting the all-star players for a team. What a bunch of crap?

    How’s this for history:

    1950 t0 1969: West – 16, East – 13
    1971 to 2012: NFC -22, AFC – 21

    2013) team Rice over team Sanders
    2014) team Irvin over team Carter
    2015) team Irvin over team Rice

    What do the last 3 years even mean?

  54. They should scrap the Pro Bowl and just have an awards show (like the ESPYs but rewarding the pro bowlers)…this way nobody gets hurt and people would show up….and do it a week after the SuperBowl.

  55. IDIOT Goodell want’s to extend the season then put it AFTER the super bowl!!! THEN all the selected players can play & don’t have the 2nd choice losers playing!!! Drop that school yard pick ’em B/S & MAKE IT AFC VS. NFC AGAIN!!! Sure seemed to be better the way it was & I remember that it was a lot mor fun to watch!!!

  56. I actually considered turning it on….but I decided that watching Big Bang Theory reruns for the umpteenth time was more compelling.

  57. There are a million different skill ideas they could incorporate. QBs with the strongest arm, fastest player, split the divisions up into some sorts of teams so the big rivals have to work together for a change, etc. And all those ideas would allow you to see guys with their helmets off which is a big plus for any All-Star event.

    The game itself is always going to struggle with the fact that nobody wants to injure anybody else so defense is pretty much non-existent. But no reason they couldn’t have entertaining skills contests to make up for the shortfalls of the actual game.

  58. Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know why ratings are down. Nobody cares nor wants to watch this game. The networks are fools to be paying money to air the game. NFL should just drop game.

  59. kill the pro bowl, its a joke. i saw a couple of highlights and had a laugh. eventually, because of CTE, that’s how all games will be played, and the NFL will no longer matter

  60. What a waste of time and game. How many Pro bowl caliber players actually participated in this game? You can make a shame of a game but the ratings actually showed how many of us really care about it.

  61. Funny how so many people are taking time out of their busy work day to comment about a game they “don’t watch”. I watched it. I love any football. I wish there was some kinda league that would start playing on March 1.

  62. You mean people wouldn’t tune in to watch Little Teddy Bridgewetter under throw Julio Jones by 15 yards?

    Put some real NFL QB’s out there. Then I’ll watch the 2nd half.

  63. Just goes to prove that are so many rock heads out there who don’t have a life who watch garbage like this and enjoy it.

  64. wait what? tyrod taylor is in the pro bowl? you people CANT be serious!

    Also, I wouldnt put espn on if it was broadcasting porn.. I’m done with those liars.

  65. The real reason in the drop is ESPN…they’ve become more irrelevant than the Probowl. The Probowl has always been a fun exhibition game for the players as well as the fans. Those of you who somehow expect a fierce, no holds barred game need to get over it…these players are not in the superbowl and their 2015 season is over…they’re there to have fun and hopefully win…end of story.

  66. It looked like powderpuff football without the
    good looking gals

    would have been better if it was just a straight game of two hand touch or flag football because it was Intermural Football at best

  67. Move it until after the draft. There is a huge void of football after the draft and before camps. Allows the players to heal, get over not winning the Super Bowl, any injuries outside of tendon tears will have time to heal before camp, and fans/players will be more engaged after a football drought.

    Things that would be cool to add:

    Skills competition

    Stats competition (who is the strongest, fastest, highest jump, ect.)

    Have the QBs draft a team to compete in an obstacle course/American Gladiator/Survivor style event. These are old rehashed ideas, but more interesting than 350lb linemen playing patty cake.

    Madden tournament; a fan or group of fans can win/earn a trip to the pro-bowl to compete with the best Madden players in the NFL.

    Have the QBs draft a team (likely the same from above) to compete in a flag football tournament that replaces the current scrimmage we get now.

  68. Maybe the ratings were down, but still the Pro Bowl was the most watched sporting event this weekend.

  69. Put that Grease Live cast against the (so called) Pro Bowlers and I bet the Greasers win. Bet they had better ratings, too.

  70. Make it go away. Steaming pile of garbage is what it has come to. I havnt watched it in years. Waste of time since it doesnt men anything to anybody anymore.

  71. Just forget about it. Make the pro bowl vote be for a trophy, a bobble head of Rodney Dangerfield, a Papa John’s gift certificate and 50 grand. The only people who watched it, watched it to confirm their suspicion that it would blow.

  72. The NHL managed to get it right. The three on three tournament among the four divisions was great and 100% effort. You’ll never get that in a post season NFL exhibition.

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