As the TV ratings become the official barometer of the NFL’s success or failure, it becomes more important than ever for the NFL to present those numbers in a persuasive but fair and accurate way.
Appearing Friday on CNBC (via SportsBusiness Daily), Patriots Owner Robert Kraft called for the league to do a “better job on our messaging” when it comes to TV ratings, citing a public “misconception” on the topic.
Kraft pointed out that Thursday night’s ratings increased by eight percent over last year’s Week Four Thursday night game, even though Thursday became the “biggest news day” since the 2016 election, and “everybody was absorbed” with the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing and its aftermath.
Looking more broadly at the NFL’s TV performance, Kraft pointed out that, in 2007, 22 of the top 100 TV programs were NFL games. In 2017, 72 of the top 100 shows were NFL games.
“The best news for the NBC family is for the seventh straight year, Sunday Night Football was the No. 1 show on primetime TV,” Kraft said. “No other network has a record like that for a primetime show. . . . General television, broadcast television ratings are down across the board, but the NFL is still pretty strong.”
The NFL is indeed pretty strong. And Kraft is right; the NFL needs to do a stronger job of selling its strength, especially to those who are quick to say that football is on the decline.