As the NFL prepares for its fourth and final London game of the year, one item of business remains unresolved regarding the first one: How many people did, or didn’t, watch the Ravens-Jaguars Sunday morning game via the Yahoo-only worldwide stream.
Two years ago, when the league tried a Yahoo-only stream of a Sunday morning London game, the numbers came out the very next day. Now, it’s been exactly a month since the Ravens-Jaguars game, and the audience numbers still haven’t been released.
The official word, two days after the game, was that the information was still being gathered. The official word, a month later, is that there’s still no word.
Given that it’s usually a fairly easy endeavor to determine the specific number of people who click links and spend time at the place where the link goes (most websites can and do track their traffic in real time), it’s becoming more and more clear that we don’t know the specific number of people who watched the Ravens-Jaguars game because the NFL doesn’t want us to know. And if the NFL doesn’t want us to know, it’s fair to conclude that the NFL doesn’t want us to know because the numbers weren’t good.
Which invites speculation as to whether the NFL would conceal other information regarding the size of the audiences watching (or not watching) games, if it could. But the league has no ability to silence the folks at Nielsen, so instead of hiding the numbers the league will instead try to spin them into something better than they are.
Which brings me back to a point made in the opening segment of Wednesday’s PFT Live. When a business has a problem, it generally can respond in one of two ways: (1) solve the problem; or (2) act like the problem doesn’t exist. The NFL seems to be choosing the latter, which really isn’t good for the NFL, its teams, its true fans, or the various stakeholders who spend a lot of time covering and promoting the NFL.