HOF game, ceremony ratings down for 2018


The trend continues to not be the friend of the NFL.

The 2018 season unofficially began with the Hall of Fame game, and the TV audience for both of the major HOF weekend tentpoles dropped in comparison to 2017.

According to Austin Karp of SportsBusiness Journal, Thursday night’s Hall of Fame game between the Bears and Ravens register 6.78 million viewers. That’s a 17.8-percent decline from last year’s Cowboys-Cardinals game (8.25 million), and the smallest broadcast audience since 1998, when 6.3 million watched the Buccaneers and the Steelers on ABC.

The total audience for Saturday night’s enshrinement ceremony, simulcast on ESPN and NFL Network, dropped from 1.18 million to 1.17 million. While the difference is negligible, the 2018 class should have driven more eyes and ears.

Maybe it would have if Terrell Owens had shown up.

There’s a very long way to go in the 2018 season, but the issue of TV ratings will continue to be an issue for the NFL. Although most of the the money from the networks remains set in stone for the next half of a decade, it the ratings keep dropping (regardless of the reasons) the dynamic inevitably will impact the league’s revenues.

41 responses to “HOF game, ceremony ratings down for 2018

  1. It’s because we don’t want to watch this new and improved nfl with all the safety precautions.

  2. Perhaps folks expected the game to be canceled and didn’t want to waste their money.

  3. So, TNT averages 1.54 million viewers during the regular season on the NBA. Meanwhile the NFL had 1.17 million viewers for the first preseason football game on a Thursday night in August. Got it.

    Carry on, nothing to see here folks…

  4. We wrote several items about the speeches the next morning. We’ve learned over time that people don’t want real-time breakdowns of the speeches. Not many of them contain much actual news.

  5. I may do a few fantasy leagues and I’ll follow the Steelers, but the NFL has become pretty irrelevant for me. Getting rid of Goodell would be a good start to regaining my interest.

  6. the FASTEST way to get rid of the preseason is for fans to stop watching completely. cmon folk, lets get this done!

  7. I have watched football for years, and my favorite teams religiously (until last year) and I don’t ever remember watching the HOF game or much of any preseason games, especially once starters come out. So who cares…

  8. Shorten the speeches to 15mins but even than who cares? Just another awards ceremony. Game is awful so what is there to watch?

  9. I was out with my wife. Came home and watched Jerry Kramer’s on YouTube.

    As for the game, I watched part of it. I think fans of “the game” know what pre-season games are and have been since before most posters here were born.

    I was curious about the Bears and what their new look offense might look like. Didn’t get much out of it..watched Frazier on Netflix the rest of the night.

  10. Next year they should add a Popular Player award to the ceremony so we don’t have to watch a mass murderer lecturing us about how to live our lives.

  11. I wouldn’t watch a regular season game between the Bears and Ravens let alone one where their 4th sting players play. Honestly could they have come up with two more boring teams for that game?

  12. For several years, I watched the ceremony without fail. I wanted to hear the best of the best tell their stories of how they made it to the pinnacle of their profession, I found inspiration in it. Now, it seems it’s a bunch of political speech, with a few notable exceptions….I don’t agree with most of them, and don’t tune in to football for that.

  13. beardownfromthefrontrange says:
    August 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm
    But apparently. meaningless preseason ratings are newsworthy. *shrugs*

    The drop from last year to this year is pretty pronounced. Enough so that its newsworthy.

    But also, before we start in about NFL rules changes and politics lets consider the differences between the games. Cowboys vs Cardinals (and at a time expections for the Cards were higher) will garner a lot more interest than Bears vs Ravens, two teams coming off of down seasons. Who knows what this years ratings will look like. But this big pronounce drop on that first game Im not so sure is indicative of how the entire season will be.

  14. Rather then doing the Presenters and the speeches, I would rather they put together a highlight film of the players career. No presenter, (have an Emcee) short 5 minute speech and highlights.
    Everyone who watched Ray Lewis’ speech is now a little dumber for having watched it.

  15. I canceled my Direct TV but it has ZERO to do with the protesters. It was simple economics. I have Hulu for 11.00 per month. Dir TV was costing me about 130.00 per month.

    But I’m sure extremists will hijack my cancellation and add it to their stupid immature cause. If you don’t want to see 2 or 3 guys kneeing then put on your big boy pants, take your own advice and keep your wondering eyes on the flag.

  16. Ratings are down because fans are tired of all the crap.
    Kneelers, whiners, holdouts etc…

    But, but, revenue is up. People support the SJW’s.

    No they don’t, those guys and the watering down of the sport (kickoff, not hitting etc.)
    are killing the product and fans are walking away.
    Even with all the new ways to watch and participate in the NFL (Online viewing, Fantasy, Gambling ) these guys are driving away fans.
    Ratings and revenue would be up a lot more if the NFL was not ticking off their fans.
    Current TV contracts are locked in.
    If the league does not fix this, they will not be renewed for nearly as much as they could be.
    The pie will not be as big as it should be.
    Keep it up players and league, you’re killing the the cash cow.

  17. I didn’t watch the ceremony because I didn’t want to see or hear Ray Lewis say stupid things. Turned on the game at halftime and they were interviewing that idiot. Put it on mute.

  18. Although it was a preseason game, it shows that the boycott and backlash are pretty real. Deny all you want, but people are tuning out. In fact, I wasn’t all that pumped up for the HOF game and ceremony. Normally, I’m looking forward to it but that wasn’t the case this year. I had very little excitement.

  19. Wow, apparently some strange force entered the TVs of people that comment here, rendering their remotes useless just as Ray Lewis was giving his speech

  20. TO Wins!!! Snowflakes lose!!! (who gives a hoot about the HOF game?) Only suckers like me who will watch anything resembling football.

  21. Sounds to me that everyone watched the wrong LB’s speech. If you wanted to watch a role model speak then you should have watch Urlachers speech, not the over the top fake Ray Lewis.

  22. Nary a mention of the NFL anthem protests. You know, the primary driver of lower ratings. Denial is a helluva drug.

  23. Everyone knows why look at a third of the class inducted , the game is always a known event.

  24. I personally don’t want to waste 3 hours watching two backup squads playing.

    As for the enshrinement, 10K in numbers dropped from last year. Whoop Dee Do. Honestly I watched Urlachers speech on Facebook on the toilet. People are consuming the NFL in different forms. Wise up and make it easier (et la iTunes) before people pirate it on frontrow or wiziwig. Why did piracy of music go down? iTunes, Spotify, Amazon.

    NFL needs to make their product easier to consume. I do Sunday ticket online via a family .edu email as I don’t want to pay $150/mo for satellite. I’m in Bronco country and want to watch DA BEARS.

  25. Even though my team was in it, I didn’t watch the HOF game for two reasons 1) I knew very few 1st or second strings would play and 2) it feels way too early for football. Had nothing to do with anthems or helmet rules.

  26. Trump is more popular than Jesua, and all his Jesus loving fans couldn’t tell you one thing Jesus actually said.

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