CBS CEO: NFL is “still the best thing on TV”

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At a time when CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus has questioned whether the NFL has oversaturated the airwaves with its product, his boss has made it clear that there’s a good reason for so much pro football: “It’s still the best thing on TV.”

CBS CEO Les Moonves made that remark during a quarterly conference call to discuss corporate earnings, via SportsBusiness Daily. “Ratings are still extraordinarily high,” Moonves added.

Still, Moonves acknowledged that the simmering (for now) anthem controversy and the issue of oversaturation may be causing a dip in viewership.

“The ratings are down a bit this year; obviously, there were political issues that came up with the kneeling during the national anthem,” Moonves said, also pointing to the “abundance of football available for fans — which might be contributing to the lower ratings.”

But even with lower ratings, the NFL is still the one thing that can bring millions together consistently to watch the same channel at the same time.

“There’s a lot of product out there,” Moonves said. “But it is still a great product.”

Moonves is right about that. But the clear, open waters through which the SS NFL had been sailing have quickly turned choppy, and many think it will get worse before it gets better. Until the anthem controversy is permanent solved and, more importantly in the view of some (like the guy in the photo with Moonves), the dynamics that allowed the issue to fester are identified and rectified, there’s reason for concern — especially since there’s really no reason that the best thing on TV should be struggling to match the kind of numbers that it was generating only two years ago.

59 responses to “CBS CEO: NFL is “still the best thing on TV”

  1. If I had Tony Romo as a broadcaster for my network, I’d probably be saying the same thing.

  2. The NFL isnt going anywhere BUT the money will NEVER not EVER be the same! Not for players, owners or sponsors!
    Salary cap going Down, Bank accounts going Down … You dont BYTE the fans hands WHOM feed you and your bizzness!

  3. The anthem controversy is solved. The rule will never change and it will be up to individual owners to mandate standing or be benched. Just like State’s rights. There is nothing to prevent an owner from benching or firing a player for protesting. How long did Al Davis bench Marcus Allen?

  4. Any serious person will acknowledge that the NFL is still the biggest draw. However, the political BS is drastically reducing the potential. The issue isn’t being number 1. There is zero competition there. It’s maximizing the potential. The NFL is a miserable failure in that respect.

  5. What we have here is the perfect storm of entitled athletes, arrogant owners, and myopic media creating an ever increasing downward spiral. But hey, y’all just keep stroking each other’s egos while we quietly slip away.

  6. I watch NFL football on Sunday, Sunday Night, Monday Night, Thursday Night. I play fantasy football, and I spend most of my spare time reading Pro Football Talk, and watching college players on video tape to get prepared for ESPN’s coverage of the NFL draft. If NFL football is on, I’m watching it. My kids do the same thing. Everyone in my neighborhood does the same thing. The only other thing I watch on TV is the world series and the NBA championship if it’s good. I don’t hate black people, so I’m not a bit upset about the kneeling.

  7. Oh, I don’t know.

    Carmen Electra’s fight league is pretty good and no kneeling, or wait, some kneeling…watch it and you tell me.

  8. Lol, I didnt know what a snowflake was…….. not sure that I still do… but, I didnt vote (all sucd) but DID prefer a Qualified Hilary over the orange idiot (all day any day and everyday) and I DO NOT support kneeling not ever in MY GREAT COUNTRY!
    So was does that make me?????? A snowball? Snowman? I seriously dont snow? nor do I care… wait yes I do.
    No I dont…. wait I do! no yes no yes WTH!!!! nope do tell me …. the suspense is kiin me…. I hope it will last 😉

  9. jbaxt says:
    November 4, 2017 at 8:52 pm
    To be a snowflake there’s some prequalifiers…

    1. Be a liberal
    2. Voted for Hilary
    3. Supports kneeling

    Wrong and the irony is that the people who abuse the term are actually the biggest snowflakes out there. Constantly whining and complaining about everything. Totally unable to handle the realities of life

  10. *if you’re from California, all the beforementined factors don’t matter, you’re an advanced snowflake.


  11. Great news for the NFL and great inspiration for the protesters. For the right wing lovers of fascism, those freedom loving snowflakes kicked your boy Hitler’s arse too. LOL.

  12. generally speaking, fans who are distracted by off the field stuff like kneeling are fans of bad teams. so they are mad & frustrated and looking for a diversion

  13. I disagree. NHL hockey and MLB baseball are superior products. Getting tired of the me first athletes and inmates in the NFL and NBA. As well as the horrible reffing and favouritism towards offense. If I want to see twenty touchdowns a game I will watch college football or play Madden.

  14. CBS next Monday night football owners? Since ESPN is bleeding money.

    ESPN is bleeding money because most of their programming is people arguing with each other .The only time I watch is when Football is on otherwise EH .

  15. spartanlegend says:
    November 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm
    Sorry easily offended right wing snowflakes he’s right. The NFL isn’t going anywhere regardless of what you think
    Perhaps. I know that I have never heard the CBS CEO quoted in an article about NFL ratings. Point is, if the decline in ratings isn’t an issue, why feel the need to discuss it?

    No reasonable person believes the current protests and subsequent boycott will destroy the NFL. Many do see, however, that these powerful interests are taking notice of the situation and sides are being chosen. In the end they’ll protect the earning potential of themselves. Sponsors, broadcasters, the NFL-all.

  16. Its not because of the football games themselves, its people watching to see how their fantasy football players are doing. Soon, they will just be satisfied with checking the internet rather than investing time into watching a bunch of entitled millionaires and billionaires insulting the American people.

  17. Cord cutters are killing viewership across the board TV. CABLE. NOT JUST NFL. The NFL needs a Commish with technology vision and saavy to lead into the next era. It would help if he didn’t tear down his biggest stars.

  18. The lies continue. The spin continues. TV ratings are dropping and fans are staying home.

    It will be interesting to see what comes out of the NFL’s mouth between now and season ticket renewal season. That’s when the rubber meets the road.

  19. Everyone who was going to boycott did already. If the rating are sinking it’s due to other factors like increased streaming not being able to afford cable changing demographics lack of star power relocating teams and some teams being unwatchable.

  20. I really didnt see anything to support a statement it is saturation or protests or both or neither. The statements listed a number of possibilities that it ‘could be’. But in the end there were no statements as to what it was. It did not sound like thats been figured out yet.

  21. I enjoy the NFL far less than a few years ago.
    The games aren’t compelling.
    And worst of all is the officiating with BS interpretations of what a catch it (Controlling the ball through the entire process).
    When you call the Jets-Pats a ASJ TD a fumble and you call Dez Bryants catch a drop you make the game less enjoyable.
    The NFL is over exposed and out of touch and their ratings will continue to gradually decline.

  22. suddenly a bunch of people who know nothing about football are arguing that the NFL is doing great…

  23. The only major sport that has shown a decline in ratings is the NFL. The other sports also stream games so that streaming argument doesn’t work. NFL teams play 16 games, other major sports play as many as 162, so the over saturation argument doesn’t work either. Last year fans told pollsters that the allowed disrespect of our anthem offended them and it was scoffed at and ignored. It’s getting more and more difficult to pretend that isn’t a major reason.

  24. Without Brady, Brees, Rothlesberger and Rodgers playing I would find it very hard to watch the NFL. The rest of the Qb’s in the league pretty much suck!!! When these guys are gone it is really going to be bad.

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