Ratings are down, but streaming numbers are up

Getty Images

The dark cloud hovering over the NFL’s sagging TV ratings has a silver lining.

As traditional boob-tube viewership numbers decline, more and more people are watching via the Internet.

Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Daily recently reported that NBC set a record for Sunday Night Football with 933,000 unique streams of the Eagles-Cowboys game. That’s an 84-percent increase over last year’s Week Eight Sunday night game between the Packers and Broncos.

Those numbers surely were buoyed by those who were watching the World Series on TV and the game on a second screen.

While the total audience regardless of platform is still down, it’s obvious that one of the various reasons for reduced TV viewership is increased online viewership. By the time the current broadcasting deals expire, that dynamic likely will be rooted even more deeply — and it surely will impact how the NFL distributes its product in the future.

44 responses to “Ratings are down, but streaming numbers are up

  1. The league’s solution will be to add 97 more commercials to the streams and therefore drive down streaming viewers.

  2. If the League makes less money from broadcast right, then the salary cap comes down, and some teams may get a nasty surprise and have to cut players.

  3. Didn’t we say this every week now? I for one will watch a night game without my team on my IPad and my wife gets the remote for the TV.

  4. Fantasy football and NFL REDZONE are causing the drop… Guess old Jerruh Jones did not realize this would happen with the explosion of Draftkings and the others? lol

  5. Hanging on for dear life to a business model from 1972. The NFLs only way to grow their business is through creating new ad revenue streams. Good luck.

  6. When you favorite team is not in your market you have no other choice. What makes the NFL think that even in NY people want to watch the Jets and Bills?

  7. Maybe it’s just me, but streaming has never been an option because its only available if you’re already purchasing TV through certain cable/satellite providers (so why not watch on tv) or by purchasing it thru cell providers etc. Either way, thats no different than getting ripped off for Sunday Ticket. I’d probably watch if its free, but I’ll never pay for it. The product is too inferior. And I’ll never pay for TV again in any form, so until they change the way games are delivered, me no watch.

  8. One of the things some having been saying all along, but almost completely ignored by the media, is without reports on streaming numbers, all this talk about numbers decline is meaningless.

  9. I quit watching most Sunday daytime football live and record what I want to see and watch later that night. Just too many commercials….its ridiculous.

    Field goal is kicked.
    commercial

    Kick off after field goal.
    commercial

    Kick returner stubs toe during the return.
    commercial

  10. “By the time the current broadcasting deals expire, that dynamic likely will be rooted even more deeply — and it surely will impact how the NFL distributes its product in the future.”

    I dont think the distribution change will have half as much effect as the decrease in TV money. You cant extort as much when the numbers are dropping and you are broadcasting less.

  11. Now if only NFL Mobile would let us watch whatever games we want. I can stream games, but not any that I couldn’t get on my television anyhow. You used to be able to spoof your GPS and watch “out of area” games, but now they base it on your IP and I’m not paying a monthly fee for VPN apps just to watch football. Frustrating.

  12. “I quit watching most Sunday daytime football live and record what I want to see and watch later that night. Just too many commercials….its ridiculous.”

    I agree that recording a game and watching later is a great way to do it. You can easily cut down a three hour game to two hours or less by fast forwarding through the commercials and halftime. The only downside to it is that you have to be careful to not hear or read the score before you start watching. So you pretty much have to watch it same day.

  13. What I’ve been saying. Even though the product stinks this year, that’s been the case for a few years now. I just don’t see people turning it off with the gambling and violence aspect that’s always carried the league’s popularity. People just don’t watch TV like they used to, and the NFL would be wise to get out in front of that before you end up with an antiquated model.

  14. Other than TNF and SNF its tough to watch NFL games on mobile devices. Local channels don’t offer streaming NFL through their personal apps (at least Comcast or Verizon) and NFL Game Pass only allows you to watch on-demand beginning Tuesday (why?). Not sure about Sunday Ticket.

    My question is how are NFL RedZone numbers considered? If people can watch via Twitter on Thursday, RedZone all day Sunday and the NBC website on Sunday night, the only true sample is MNF. Is RedZone in the equation?

    Regardless, that doesn’t solve the issue that games are so slow and boring that we can’t watch a single game and require a “whip around the league” to avoid commercials.

  15. wiitrainingcamp says:
    Nov 2, 2016 10:32 AM
    One of the things some having been saying all along, but almost completely ignored by the media, is without reports on streaming numbers, all this talk about numbers decline is meaningless.
    ________________

    It isn’t meaningless because it’s not just volume numbers that are down, it’s share. Of the people that are watching TV fewer are watching the NFL and the people that have cut the cord are also watching things besides the NFL. NCAA, NBA and MLB are all seeing increases while the NFL is seeing it’s share decline

  16. I think it’s more than the just business model, it’s the product. TV ratings for other major sports are fine.

    ========
    s dirge says:
    Nov 2, 2016 10:16 AM
    Hanging on for dear life to a business model from 1972. The NFLs only way to grow their business is through creating new ad revenue streams. Good luck.

  17. steves11 says:
    Nov 2, 2016 10:31 AM

    Streaming a game is advantageous in that you can do other things on your device while the commercials are on.
    —————————

    I can do that when watching on a television as well. Heck, I can even do other things when the game is on.

  18. Every single preaseason, regular season and postseason game can be streamed for free if you know where to look.

  19. The NFL needs to stop focusing on TV ratings. Cable companies are seeing big losses as people are cutting the cable all over the nation. That old business model is dying.

  20. .
    increased commercials aint from kickoffs/scores

    its from every single thing that has to be REVIEWED.
    dude obviously fumbled it, well who cares commercial!
    its pathetic, they cant even show 20 different angles of the fumble because they have to run a commercial instead.
    It used to be all about having 20 different angles to see the ball. oh cool wow! no way an angle from there?!
    now its, fumble! hurry cut to commercial!!!
    not decision yet? another commercial!!
    Oh ok change of possession BRB commerical.

  21. granadafan

    The NFL needs to stop focusing on TV ratings. Cable companies are seeing big losses as people are cutting the cable all over the nation. That old business model is dying.
    =====
    That is true, but this only compounds the drop in ratings, not to mention people are tired of watching malcontents protesting. This is always neglected in the articles but in fact it is most likely the straw that broke the camel’s back. I haven’t watch any games, I have a high cable bill, and I’m leaning towards getting rid of cable altogether.

  22. Let’s all be honest here, people know that Jerry Jones was one of the very few owners that told his players to stand during the national anthem. I’ve read many comments from different viewers about how they’re flocking over to teams that don’t support Kaepernick’s method of protest.

    Streaming or not, fans don’t want to see social justice warriors using the anthem as their political platform. Although the Cowboys have been good this season, it’s still making all the difference in comparison to other good football teams. To add to that, this past Eagles versus Cowboys game on Sunday night football was one of the best games of the NFL season thus far.

  23. I don’t watch as much anymore because they’ve oversaturated the product. #1 – if I miss a game…there’s always one on tomorrow. #2 – I used to watch as much as possible…but the first time I missed a London game because it was on too early, I learned that missing a game was not a bad thing. Actually, it was a good thing.

  24. I play fantasy football.
    Why do I need to watch the games anymore?
    Everything each player does is right there in front of me in real time.
    I don’t care about teams. Only the players I drafted.

    FACT JACK!

  25. granadafan says:
    Nov 2, 2016 11:46 AM

    The NFL needs to stop focusing on TV ratings. Cable companies are seeing big losses as people are cutting the cable all over the nation. That old business model is dying.
    —————————–

    Only 2 games a week are on cable, and of those two, one is on broadcast tv and twitter half of the season.

  26. >.Streaming or not, fans don’t want to see social justice warriors using the anthem as their political platform.

    What about supporting the police? Is that banned also?
    If not, then it’s ok to do social justice the way one group likes but not another?

    I’m less concerned by the kneeling and more concerned by the poor play and lack of quality games this year. Other than the Dallas – Eagles game on Sunday, and the Patriots-Denver and Denver-Panthers games earlier in the year there have been no late night games I’ve had any interest in watching.

    The games are pretty bad overall.

  27. granadafan says:
    Nov 2, 2016 11:46 AM

    The NFL needs to stop focusing on TV ratings. Cable companies are seeing big losses as people are cutting the cable all over the nation. That old business model is dying.
    —————————–

    Only 2 games a week are on cable, and of those two, one is on broadcast tv/twitter half of the season.

  28. THe twitter streamed games are one of the best thing the NFL has ever done. Im willing to have ads in my stream like normal TV, but you just have to give me the ability to watch. I dont have cable, so most of my games end up coming from pirate streams anyway. If the NFL went to a model where you can stream the games but the streams have ads, I would be on that in a heartbeat. NBC does a pretty good job with theirs, but the cable wall makes it an nonviable option for me.

  29. harrisonhits2 says:
    Nov 2, 2016 10:08 AM
    The league’s solution will be to add 97 more commercials to the streams and therefore drive down streaming viewers.

    ……………….

    Game flow is already destroyed by the TV commercial structure. This doesn’t result in a better online experience unless you enjoy watching a bunch of dudes in costume chatting with each other.

  30. What about supporting the police? Is that banned also?

    ___________________________

    Yes, it is. The league didn’t allow Cowboys’ players to wear anything on their jerseys or helmets to honor the fallen police officers in those Dallas shootings. The NFL will only let players protest if they agree with the protest. It’s absolutely sickening. That’s one thing the NBA gets right when it comes to fining or suspending players for not standing during the national anthem. When these players are on the job, they are representing their employer.

  31. The NFL is like Bill Murray in Caddyshack. Hey Mr. Gopher, just me Mr. Squirrel, no plastic explosives in my back or anything.

    Getting crushed on TV but these losers cant take it and say o but our streaming numbers are up. Nice try.

    Who in their right mind would watch a football game on their phone or computer

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.