The NFL returned to America’s second-biggest television market after a two-decade absence in 2016, but that didn’t result in more people watching the NFL.
In fact, the NFL on FOX, the network that shows most of the Rams’ games, saw a decrease in its TV ratings in the Los Angeles market for 2016.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the 12 games shown by the Los Angeles FOX affiliate in 2016 reached, on average, 8 percent of L.A. households. In 2015, the Los Angeles FOX affiliate reached, on average, 8.3 percent of L.A. households. (The one Sunday Rams game shown on CBS this season also declined from CBS’s 2015 L.A. average.)
That’s a small decrease, not unusual for a season in which TV ratings were down across the board — especially early in the season. Later in the 2016 season the NFL’s TV ratings rebounded, but by then the Rams were already out of contention, so there was scant interest in the Rams.
Unsurprisingly, NFL ratings also declined in St. Louis in 2016. The NFL surely expected to lose TV viewers in the market the Rams left, but losing viewers in the Rams’ new market as well has to be a concern.
A huge part of the NFL’s Los Angeles television problem is that the Rams were a bad team and a boring team. Perhaps next year, with a new coach, the Rams can be competitive and compelling, and the viewership numbers will increase.
But Year One in Los Angeles was a big disappointment on the field, and a disappointment in the TV ratings as well.