Robert Kraft wants NFL to do a “better job” of “messaging” regarding ratings

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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.

29 responses to “Robert Kraft wants NFL to do a “better job” of “messaging” regarding ratings

  1. Now I’d like to hear from all the folks boycotting the NFL…

    …but still posting on an NFL website.

  2. People are cutting the cord like never before. In my area, I do not get OTA signal, so when I cut the cord, I might not have access to the network broadcasts unless I find them elsewhere.

  3. I’ve always respected this guy. He was a season ticket holder who watched a perennial losing team for years before he bought them and turned them around. Does he have flaws and idiosyncrasies? Sure. Do I agree with everything he says? NO! But as owners go he has his act together.

  4. Mr. Kraft…you’re an outstanding owner. Mr “PC” Goodell has a boatload of problems on his plate. On balance to your remarks, the LA Chargers TV ratings are terrible. The ‘relocated’, once great franchise is at best, an after thought in LA. The Rams, with a packed Coliseum last night was the “final nail in the coffin” of the LA Chargers “Fight For LA” theme. Mr. Kraft and the NFL have a failed ‘relocation’ on their hands! No fans means TV no ratings. Sadly, Charger ratings drag down NFL ratings. When are you owners going to do something about this failed franchise? Mr. Goodell and all NFL owners should please stop ignoring this significant issue effecting the whole league!

  5. Some of this “messaging “ needs to include abstentions from political positioning, e.g. kneeling during the national anthem. In the past I would turn to watching the NFL as an escape from politics and everything else that invades the news headlines. These days I’m not able to do that as politics is ruining the game.

  6. I love bobby craft and all he has brought us. BUT… to compare 2017 to 2007 and not account for all the people who have cut cable… is a gross error. So bob wants the NFL to do a better job “messaging” rating by using stats to lie??????

    NFL ratings are down because the product sucks.

    If he wants to compare to 2007 he has to smooth the stats to account for the Netflix effect. Make a compelling argument with hard facts that aren’t skewed by other factors. This is why businessmen like him build their wealth off the backs are true geniuses and aren’t geniuses themselves… smh

  7. nestrongsafety says:
    September 28, 2018 at 1:43 pm
    These days I’m not able to do that as politics is ruining the game.

    *****************************************************************************

    Then don’t watch the first 2.5 minutes of the telecast, or lobby to have the anthem removed from the game so there’s no opportunity for politics to be introduced.

  8. The hours that young people spend playing video games is replacing the hours we used to spend watching TV. But as far as the people who are actually watching TV, the percentage of those watching NFL games is actually increasing. In my neighborhood, everyone watches NFL football.

  9. It’s still misleading because the numbers are down overall, so it doesn’t matter what kind of spin he puts on it.

    The facts are the facts.

    This will be the 3rd straight year, that the overall numbers have tumbled and the NFL has never seen a drop in ratings even in one season before, unless in the strike years of 1982 and 1987.

  10. I do think think the media needs to get back to the basics and promote the game of football, the weekly match ups and it’s players and coaches for what they do ON THE FIELD of play.

    The tabloid area that the internet helped usher in has only hurt sports. All sports. Tabloid only does damage and it makes it difficult for consumer trust to develop.

    More factual and less sensationalism. Opinions are encouraged in sports talk. But I feel the opinions need to be based on a truth and not just an attempt to generate clicks.

  11. nestrongsafety says:
    September 28, 2018 at 1:43 pm
    Some of this “messaging “ needs to include abstentions from political positioning, e.g. kneeling during the national anthem. In the past I would turn to watching the NFL as an escape from politics and everything else that invades the news headlines. These days I’m not able to do that as politics is ruining the game.

    ——————-

    So only your politics are allowed. I get it. You had no problem with the NFL selling a war using our tax dollars but if someone speaks up for our own citizens that is too much. Get off your high horse, the thin air is messing with your mind.

  12. Guy Hence says: “On balance to your remarks, the LA Chargers TV ratings are terrible. The ‘relocated’, once great franchise is at best, an after thought in LA. The Rams, with a packed Coliseum last night was the “final nail in the coffin” of the LA Chargers “Fight For LA” theme. Mr. Kraft and the NFL have a failed ‘relocation’ on their hands! No fans means TV no ratings. Sadly, Charger ratings drag down NFL ratings.”
    ========================

    Sorry, but the San Diego Chargers tv ratings were pretty bad on a national scale and that’s after decades of loyal and dedicated San Diego fans. The LA Chargers can easily surpass those numbers with a couple of good seasons (ie look at Jacksonville rising in viewership).

  13. tylawspick6 says: “It’s still misleading because the numbers are down overall, so it doesn’t matter what kind of spin he puts on it.

    The facts are the facts.”
    ===================================

    According to Nielsen last year: ABC dropped 15%, CBS dropped 19%, Fox dropped 8%, NBC dropped 19%, Univision dropped 18%, CW dropped 15%, AMC dropped 20%, Comedy Central dropped 18%.

    The fact is networks are losing viewers a lot faster than the NFL. To say that the NFL is losing television viewers because of anthem protest/rule changes/poor product/etc. is poor understanding of the real reason.

  14. Exactly right akira. The Sunday night Pats/Lions game ratings destroyed the 4 networks prime time lineup. Ratings system is obsolete

  15. In what bizzaro world does it matter what the “messaging” is? I don’t base my viewing habits on my perception of whether more or fewer people are watching a given program…does anyone?

  16. When you can’t quantify all the streaming and other ways to enjoy football the ratings will continue to drop. They are over-extended offering these fringe outlets access to view games. I’ll keep watching the networks every weekend and even a poorly produced game on Mondays.

  17. NFL viewership is down 3% from 2010. It’s been declining steadily at 1.5% the past 2 years in particular. They are predicting a similar decline if not more for 2018. So no, to blame the lack of ratings on the loss of general viewership is wholly inaccurate. Not to mention completely wrong.

  18. Rating system has been broken for years. DirectTv can give you real numbers of what people are watching. Not just live, but DVR’d to watch later. Alot of People work Sundays and nights in America but the “Tv Ratings” are only for live tv. Almost everyone I know watches TV shows on a DVR and not live because of commercials. Sport programs are different of course because we don’t want the score told to use before we watch it so we reluctantly watch it live.

    Nielson ratings are a joke. Do you know how much of a pain in the butt it is for them log their time and state who is watching what? I bet a majority of their numbers are wrong. They are so behind in tech on these number gathering companies that I don’t understand why we believe them.

  19. The League and its owners have for more serious messaging problems than ratings. The fan doesn’t care one bit what the ratings are as long as their team is playing each week on a station they can watch. Period.

    And to be completely real, messaging about anything is not even in the Top 10 their biggest problems.

  20. Some people are too funny with continued denial.

    NFL ratings and overall TV ratings are not the same. When NFL ratings drop it is because people are not watching the NFL. Period. “In 2017, 72 of the top 100 shows were NFL games”. Sure but that still doesn’t mean that more people from those same 72 games were watching 2+ years prior.

  21. The game I saw last night was a special look at the leagues future, wow! League has never seen athletes & QB’s like this. Stay the course on making it safer. The ones who tune out really were never that big a fan to begin with: everyone loves to be negative. This league is special & always will be!!! Slight adjustments no doubt, but always mindful of their audience. So funny how people think it’s ever going away. These are small pebbles falling off a giant mountain. If you don’t like it don’t watch it!

  22. Out with full stadiums, in with sitting on your butt watching from your couch.

    Cheaper Seat
    Cheaper Parking
    Cheaper Snacks
    Less Drunk People (just me now)
    Better View (70″ HD TV)
    Channel Surf During Commercials
    No Line to Pee
    Kick the Cat when we lose
    Pet the Dog when we win

    Not spending your entire monthly entertainment budget for that one of eight weekly event = Happier Fan.

  23. charlie8816 says:
    September 28, 2018 at 4:56 pm
    The game I saw last night was a special look at the leagues future, wow! League has never seen athletes & QB’s like this. Stay the course on making it safer. The ones who tune out really were never that big a fan to begin with: everyone loves to be negative. This league is special & always will be!!! Slight adjustments no doubt, but always mindful of their audience. So funny how people think it’s ever going away. These are small pebbles falling off a giant mountain. If you don’t like it don’t watch it!
    ========================
    Don’t watch it. Ok. Wouldn’t the NFL ratings seem to suggest people are no longer doing just that? If what you suggested was true the NFL wouldn’t need to alter the message to suggest otherwise. It simply wouldn’t matter (as you so aptly pointed out).

    It’s so not about being negative. It’s about supporting a product that quite simply stinks. And being a big enough of a fan to realize when it’s no longer entertaining to watch or converse over.

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