The NFL’s prime time television ratings decline isn’t about any individual game, any individual matchup or any individual time slot.
In fact, the NFL is declining in its ratings so broadly that only one prime time game all season has had a higher TV rating than the game in the same time slot during the 2015 season. That one was the Week Three Thursday night matchup of the Patriots and the Texans.
Aside from that game, every single prime time game has seen a ratings decline — that’s 25 out of 26 prime time slots, according to Sports Media Watch.
Those numbers strongly indicate that the ratings decline isn’t about blowout games or bad matchups or the presidential election. If those were the problems, the ratings wouldn’t be down in the close games and the good matchups and the nights when there’s not a lot of campaign news.
Instead, the NFL’s ratings decline is broad-based, affecting every team, every night and every week. That’s a real problem for the league, one that the owners need to get their hands around.