Week One ratings were generally down

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The drop in TV ratings for the NFL wasn’t confined to Monday night.

With the dust settled on Week One, the NFL saw a reduction in most key apples-to-apples comparisons from 2015 to 2016.

Via Forbes, the Thursday night opener between the Panthers and Broncos drew 25.2 million, down eight percent from 2015 (Steelers-Patriots) and six percent from 2014 (Packers-Seahawks). Also, Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Cardinals generated an audience of 23.1 million. Despite the game being decided at the last second, the audience fell by 14 percent, in comparison to last year’s Giants-Cowboys Sunday night opener.

All metrics were down with the exception of the late-afternoon Sunday game, thanks to another Week One Giants-Cowboys contest, which saw growth in ratings from 14.7 from last year’s Ravens-Broncos game to 16.9, according to SportsBusiness Daily.

The NFL still draws a live audience like no other entertainment property, but it’s noteworthy anytime the numbers drop. At a time when the NFL has its eyes on other countries because it regards the United State as saturated, maybe it’s time to focus on pumping more water into the domestic sponge and to worry less about panning for gold on foreign soil.

75 responses to “Week One ratings were generally down

  1. If this is the year NFL finally drops down from its gigantic podium it’ll be a giant wake up call for the NFL owners. However, I have zero faith that they will do anything productive that will result in an improvement of business operations.

  2. Perhaps oppressed millionaires refusing to stand for our national anthem had something to do with this.
    I’d like to know what countries’ flag they WOULD stand up for.

  3. Note to NFL: Keep suspending your marquee players for specious reasons(Deflategate?) and you’ll see the numbers continue to drop; let infantile players taunt the millions of military supporters and you’ll see the numbers continue to drop (post their endorsement contracts!) ; have Roger Goodell continue to insult the fans as he did at the NFL draft and you’ll see the numbers continue to drop. Note to commercially savvy owners – Roger Goodell is the problem not the solution! Take the game back to being a contest on the field not one in the courtroom!

  4. I left the Rams/Niners game to do the dishes…the dishes, people. What hurts are penalties and long reviews; games have no flow anymore, it’s so overly officiated.

  5. Sheriff Goebbels will need more down weeks like this to have a chance to bury him.

    Who knows if he ever makes it out alive.

    The corruption and lying will likely continue.

  6. I’ve never seen so many people so upset about something so miniscule. Kaepernick decides to sit down during the Star Spangled Banner and you’d think that he committed a terrorist act against an elementary school.

    If you were offended by what CK and others have decided to do, then YOU. ARE. RACIST.

    Normal People

  7. Well, speaking for myself, I only watched the game my team was playing on Sunday. My husband only watched the first quarter then went to bed. The NFL has lost it’s magic for me and most of my family. I still love and support my team, but I’m not “on the edge of my seat excited” about football anymore. Too much crap associated with the NFL now.

  8. Ratings down across the board? Might be interesting to survey audiences and ask why. But Goodell doesn’t believe in data. Congress threatens to investigate TBI and he just starts slamming defenders with fines instead of researching how best to approach the issue or whether his new hit patterns will lead to crippling leg injuries. He’ll probably just react to this news by proposing a Moscow expansion team rather than talking to American fans.

    On the bright side, though, maybe a corresponding drop in revenue would finally lead owners to consider a change in commissioner.

  9. Many fans are getting turned off by the black lives matter politics being thrown in their faces. People just want to watch their team play football. Personally I still watch my favorite team but have stopped watching the other games. Also suspending the best player in the league doesn’t help viewership.

  10. No sane person doesn’t watch a game because some random guy knelt for the flag salute…which is when most people are snacking or going to the bathroom anyway.

    I think a bigger problem might be the way they shuffle games now. The compelling match ups are on Sunday night now, which means the Monday night games suck and the Thursday night games are on a channel most people can’t see. Both cable channels are kind of overpriced too.

  11. The NFL got off to a terrible start with Thursday nights debacle. With all that is known regarding head injuries no one wanted to see one team taking intentional head shots at the QB. I heard numerous people say they would not watch the NFL until it was corrected.
    College football sent a message to their players. Do it once and we kick you out of the game.
    The NFL doesn’t own that type of courage.

  12. The product needs to be about the game, not the politics, suspensions, protests and general off-field drama.

  13. .
    ” Also, Sunday night’s game between the Patriots and Cardinals generated an audience of 20.65 million. Despite the game being decided at the last second, the audience fell 18 percent in the 18-to-49 demographic, in comparison to last year’s Giants-Cowboys Sunday night opener. ”


    There’s only one logical reason for such a dramatic falloff in viewership and that’s the absence of Tom Brady. The game itself was excellent, going down to the final play.

    NBC and their sponsors must have been delighted to produce a ratings dud, whereas they should have had a slam dunk winner. Once Goodell started hurling grenades, there was no telling where the shrapnel was going to go. Although now we know that NBC and the sponsors were hit pretty hard.

  14. At a time when the NFL has its eyes on other countries because it regards the United State as saturated, maybe it’s time to focus on pumping more water into the domestic sponge and to worry less about panning for gold on foreign soil.


    Don’t worry, whatever they sent Kensil to do over there, he’s sure to botch it.

  15. By the way…..when that Goodell interview excerpt came on, I first noticed that it looked like he hadn’t slept in like….say…..20 months…..then I went and got more chips and dip and filled my mug with more porter. Fortunately, he was off the screen when I got back.

  16. Everybody is watching REDZONE. Playing DFS. Who the hell wants to sit through an afternoon of HORRIBLE commercials when we can watch non stop action all day?

  17. How exactly are people who are disgusted by athletes showing disrespect for their country racist?


    People who know what racism means

  18. So Normal PEOPLE…I guess I am a racist. I am offended…more like ticked off, that players are disrespecting the flag and the service of millions of men and women. Yet, I’m the problem.

    You and those like you are what is wrong with America today. Shame on you.

  19. a long time chiefs fan here,but when the 2 chiefs players did the fist salute during the anthem i was outta there!!….also i’m still frothing over the last ‘gay pride’ superbowl , with it’s ‘anti police’ singing….all i want is plain simple football……

  20. The NFL jumped the shark sometime between 2010-2012. The degree of interest is simply not sustainable because of the insane interest in that time frame. Still a very popular product but it has definitely dipped likely due to ability to watch games in 1.5 hours via DVR (and by ignoring texts/communication from outside world).

    I am 40 and have kids. I just don’t have the time to watch 4-6 hours of football on a Sunday afternoon like I did in my late 20s or early 30s….and I’m totally fine with it.

  21. Players using the game to get attention or say they are doing it for a cause in not well accepted… Do that off the field where it makes a difference but DON’T BE A DISGRACEFUL, UNGRATEFUL ______ during the anthem…

    Obviously it turns people way is the only goal it is accomplishing!

  22. “No NFL player stood for the national anthem until 2009—before then, the players stayed in the locker room as the anthem played. NFL teams got patriotic in recent years because it was good for business. A 2015 congressional report revealed that the Department of Defense had paid $5.4 million to NFL teams between 2011 and 2014 to stage on-field patriotic ceremonies; the National Guard shelled out $6.7 million for similar displays between 2013 and 2015. ”

    In other words, the people complaining about the players trying to draw attention to lesser fortunate brothers and sisters need to get off their high horse. If you want things the way they were pre-Fraudger, players don’t have to be on the field standing for the anthem at all. You want to support our troops? Vote for politicians that won’t send them to unnecessary wars. You want authoritarianism in the NFL? Keep Fraudger in power.

  23. I didn’t watch a snap all weekend. I’m out on the NFL until they all stand and stop the Black Panther salute. Not a dollar from me and not a minute of my time.

    Making my choice.

  24. How many people stand up, take their hats off and stand at attention during the national anthem in their living rooms???????

  25. I know 2 of my friends that are not watching due to the bogus protests by oppressed millionaire athletes.

  26. Unfortunately I will never see Monday night games because I refuse to watch ESPN anymore. They’ve littered turned me off sports at times, truly saddening

  27. deneb1973 says:
    Sep 13, 2016 8:23 PM

    Note to NFL: Keep suspending your marquee players for specious reasons(Deflategate?) and you’ll see the numbers continue to drop; let infantile players taunt the millions of military supporters and you’ll see the numbers continue to drop (post their endorsement contracts!) ; have Roger Goodell continue to insult the fans as he did at the NFL draft and you’ll see the numbers continue to drop. Note to commercially savvy owners – Roger Goodell is the problem not the solution! Take the game back to being a contest on the field not one in the courtroom!

    Absolutely spot on. I couldn’t agree more.

  28. I’ve stopped watching all games … just too political. Stopped watching all pregame shows also … again, just too political.

    Take the politics out of sports and I’ll probably return … maybe.

  29. Maybe people are getting sick of the racial politics. Sport is supposed to be an escape from reality, not a place to have your nose rubbed in reality in an offensive fashion.

  30. This is the beginning of the long slow demise of the NFL that is a direct result of Goodell & his complete incompetence.

    The trend can be reversed if the owners come to their senses & hire a marginally competent general manager to run the league. Give Goodell another 10 years & Mark Cuban will be a prophet.

  31. I got a question, what if KC refused to stand for the national anthem because he thought H clinton was getting away with treason because of the so called email scandal ? how much you wanna bet the same people crucifying him would be more than happy to defend his actions and say he was a true patriot ?

  32. Watching the refs continue to be biased for the Broncos… was enough for me to want to quit watching. 5 helmet to helmet hits on Cam, and the only one called was offset. Ridiculous.

    All that talk about concussions/protecting players, and the refs let the broncos go head hunting on Cam.

    All that talk about integrity, and the NFL ignores elementary science to frame Brady, lets players sit/ignore the national anthem, then threatens to fine a player for honoring fallen officers and firemen on September 11th. #Integrity.

  33. It’s the commercials. Games are unwatchable. Score. Timeout. PAT. Timeout. Kickoff. Timeout. Possession…punt…timeout. Review…cut to commercial (I’d like to stay with the game and watch replays and hear the analysis of former officials). Even in-stadium the games are getting hard to watch. You sit there and watch players stand around and wait for the refs to signal “back from commercial”. Mark Cuban was right…the hog has gotten too fat. Games used to be 2.5ish hours. Now you’re lucky if they’re 3.5. When your primary exposure to the game is say the HS level, pro games (and now college) are just hard to sit through.

    I have stopped playing fantasy because it is just too much of a time suck and parity has killed rivalries and made half of the games super boring every weekend.

    It has nothing to do with Brady (outside of NE, no one really cares) or Manning or any individual players. The “wait, what network is the game on tonight?” for Thursday games and then being forced to watch for 10 hours on a Sunday after watching on a Thursday night and then also watching MNF…man…it is just fatigue.

  34. Also, in all seriousness, the downtick of Sunday Night’s Pats w/o brady against a good Cardinals team who’s most recognizable player (to the average american – we all know Patrick Peterson is the man) is probably Larry Fitzgerald compared to Giants/Cowboys, two of the largest market shares and historic teams isn’t all that surprising.

    Same goes for the Thursday Nighter – A dud of a superbowl for two smaller market teams compared to the epic suberbowl setting up the Seahwaks Pats rematch from 2 years ago…

  35. ….I myself have decided I’m making my OWN statement. I turn the channel or turn OFF the TV during comnercials or when I’m not intently watching. Normally i would just keep the tv on to the game. But doing it this way the NFL sponsers and NFL ratings don’T get my Nelson ratings. I know its petty but its the only recourse a average fan has when the NFL has stopped listening to the fans that make THEM money……

  36. The night games start to late for the east coast start them at 7 est and you’ll get us to watch the whole game,yeah I get the whole west coast thing but we really don’t care if they miss the start of the game, the biggest city lost every team its had due to no one going or watching maybe it works this time but from what we all saw this week that will honeymoon will be over quickly.
    I and nearly all my friends miss the 2nd half or last quarter of every game unless our team is playing and the lineup we had her Sunday was terrible I watched redzone more than the “televised” games.

  37. eventually they will lawyer the game up so much that no one knows what is a catch or a touchdown or a defensive hold or p.i. then, each play gets a replay review to make sure that the game is unwatchable.

  38. Being a Panthers fan, I watched every second of the Thursday game. I watched RedZone all day Sunday. I watched about a quarter of the SNF game and all of the first MNF game, but only about a quarter of the second MNF game.

    During the time I watched RedZone, I struggled to stay interested until the Raiders-Saints game was the only 1:00 game left.

    I see two problems:

    1) The quality of competition wasn’t as compelling as I had hoped. There were a lot of bad games this week. The convoluted, inconsistent rules and the application of same are to blame.

    2) The NFL still thinks this is 1965, when the one and only way you could watch an NFL game was to watch it live as it happens on TV – at least in the Pacific Time Zone. The suits on Park Avenue have been told that no one in the Pacific Time Zone owns a DVR, so everything needs to happen from 7-10 PM PST. Meanwhile, the 100 million-plus people in the Eastern Time Zone, a number of which have to get up at 5-6 AM to go to work the next day, have to choose between watching that night’s game or going into work on 4-5 hours sleep.


    1) Simplify the rule book (ex. – reduce the definition of a catch to 1 line of text). Require the officials to apply the rules the same way to all players. Severely discipline officials who call the same play as clean one time and pass interference the next, or for not calling a penalty because the official think the player that got fouled isn’t old enough, or throws a roughing the passer flag for the QB that was in the most commercials last week but not for the QB that is bigger than everyone else, or that a lot of people hate because they think he cheated in college.

    2) Survey the people in the Pacific Time Zone. Once you find out that just as many of those people have DVRs as any other time zone, start ALL night games at 7:00 Eastern.

  39. 1. Endless Commercials.
    2. Local Blackouts.
    3. Awful, awful commentary featuring people who barely speak the language competently.
    4. Lousy production quality to broadcasts.
    5. Inconsistent officiating.
    6. Ridiculous protests and the associated over coverage of them.
    7. Ridiculous rules that make the game silly (icing kickers, what is a catch controversy etc.).
    8. Suspensions for silliness.
    9. Knew jerk Rules that were put in place for safety but make injuries more prevalent (low hits, etc.).
    10. Slow erosion of exciting plays (kick returns)
    11. Not TV related but Game Tickets that price normal people out of attending games (would cost almost $1000 bucks for a family to go) and PSL schemes.

    Still a fan but the NFL is making it hard to be one.

  40. What a whinging bunch of faux patriots on board here. Perhaps you guys didn’t get the message, wars were fought for the RIGHT AND FREEDOM of free expression especially when directed at power, not for a song or flag; how unpatriotic you all are. The founding fathers would be ashamed of YOU!

  41. I guess that boycotting games of teams that disrespect the country makes me racist or a deplorable. What they do in their own time dose not concern me. But I will not watch a bunch of over paid fools disrespect this country that gave them so much. I doubt that any of them take the time to join the protests as that would take effort.

    Freedom of speech also protects those that disagree with you. Go ahead and continue your protests. I will continue my protest.

  42. Ten years ago, the NFL adopted an off season marketing strategy to stay squarely in the public eye during basketball, baseball, and hockey seasons, using a series of manufactured “InsertVerbHere-Gates.” It played to the Limbic side of the human brain, where emotions are involved, and emotional fans couldn’t get enough of the “take down” of the competition. Much of our societies entertainment and politics has gone the same route. It’s WWF-like in nature. Could it be that after the most recent debacle of “Deflategate” was so serioulsy debunked by science and lack of evidence (it was about the CBA, not innocence or guilt – as noted by the judges), that fans are now drifting back to using the Neo-Cortex, the part of their brain that sets us apart from animals, where logic and reason dictate? Probably not….

  43. As a Patriots fan, the league has totally turned me off with Brady’s suspension. I’ll still watch, but not nearly as much. I didn’t even stay up for second half of Pats game….ridiculous they have to play with Garrapalo. Goodell sucks. That’s the problem for me.

  44. This is a direct result of the rich angry young men who disrespect the national anthem of the country who gave them the opportunity to become rich.

    Attention Commissioner Goddell: your shield has become far more tarnished then you could ever imagine by turning a blind eye towards this travesty. You are losing fan base, which means you are you are losing money, and soon your billion dollar TV contracts will begin to shrink as the networks also begin to feel the economic pinch. You bench Brady four games over a couple psi in some footballs, but do nothing when a growing number of players show the kind of disrespect that is ALIENATING a growing percentage of your fan base. If you allow this to continue then you are a fool, and your shield will NEVER recover it’s shine.

  45. I wonder how many people were sitting on their couch being disgusted over people not standing for the anthem and not noticing the irony.

  46. Goodness, all these comments and not one mention of the really, really, really obvious reason.

    Cord cutting.

    The NFL is incompatible with cord cutting.

    No NFL is collateral damage an increasing number of people are willing to accept, especially as the options for cord cutters grows immensely.

    And the most likely the make that choice? Younger people. The next generation of fans.

    The NFL’s lack of involvement in the domestic cord cutting market is a huge tactical error on their part. And every season they fail to get involved, the long term damage grows exponentially.

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