Scouting Combine ratings up only three percent

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The NFL reconfigured the scheduling of the Scouting Combine to support a move of the player workouts into prime time. And for its trouble, the NFL realized . . . an extremely marginal increase in ratings.

Via Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal, NFL Network experienced a three-percent ratings increase. The league-owned network average 242,000 viewers over the four days of coverage in comparison to 2019. Then (and in prior years) workouts primarily played out in the morning.

So here’s the question for the NFL: Is it worth moving the workouts to prime time? The ratings, after all, may have increased by three percent even without the move to prime time. Heck, maybe the numbers would have done up even more than that.

Indeed, more than 29,000 who responded to a Twitter poll regarding consumption of televised Combine content said that they watched less this year than last year.

The NFL seems to be intent on making the Scouting Combine into an even bigger offseason tentpole than it already is. But there may indeed be a hard ceiling on the level of interests in watching incoming rookies do a bunch of stuff that isn’t really football. And it could make more sense for the league to not cram an event that isn’t really ready for prime time into prime time.

28 responses to “Scouting Combine ratings up only three percent

  1. Well not many people were going to watch the entire thing. I love draft season but the majority of other football fans i know aren’t in to it as much. It’s not for everyone.

  2. Wee let’s watch college kids jump and run. Who cares. Wait until they prove themselves capable in the NFL.

  3. Apparently, Combine athletes sat around much of the day (if not in interviews or other testing), waiting for their events to start in the evening. This is a disservice to them, risking injuries for money. But what else is new with the NFL? If I was an athlete, I’d wait for my Pro Day to showcase my skills.

  4. The only thing worse than the combine in prime time, is the red carpet bs before the draft.

  5. I used to love watching the combine – in the daytime. But in the evening – vs some of the best entertainment shows (or “doing” something else all together) – not so much.

    I hardly watched it at all this year – in prime time.

  6. I think I’d rate watching the combine on tv slightly better than watching paint dry.

  7. I just want the results of the combine and have zero desire to watch more than a few minutes of it. I’d much rather watch a recap of the combine on Path to the Draft or Total Access than the actual combine itself.

    It probably wouldn’t make me watch more, but it certainly doesn’t help that a lot of the best players only participate in a few of the drills or don’t participate at all. LJ and Kyler not running the 40 the last two years was pretty disappointing.

  8. I’m not even sure why it’s televised. Then again i feel the same about the pro bowl but they get millions of viewers for that.

  9. So I guess that puts it at a new all time high of 4%??? Because I know of know that wants to watch guys in underwear run around cones.

  10. the rating would go up if they rotated the location of the event so it wasnt just in Indy…just sayin’

  11. eagleswin says: “I’m not even sure why it’s televised. Then again i feel the same about the pro bowl but they get millions of viewers for that.”

    Most fans don’t have time to follow college football during the season. This is just another way to get excited about next NFL season with “potential” draft picks. So, WHY NOT?

  12. I watch as much NFL as I can, including the first 4-5 rounds of the draft every year. I have Sunday ticket every year I have DirecTV. I am always switching TV provider to get the best price. When not on DirecTV I usually have Redzone Channel. After having said all that, there are two things I do not watch and will never care about…..The combine and the pro bowl. The former because it isn’t football and they will show me anything that matters at the draft and the latter because they moved it to before the Super Bowl and it is no longer the last taste of football before the offseason. No point to it any more. While you are at it, move it back to Hawaii!

  13. The interest isn’t there yet for one basic reason: Fans don’t get all that interested in players out of uniform, especially when those players don’t have an NFL team yet.

    These low ratings puts to rest the idea of paying players to show up at the combine via selling tickets and increased television ad revenue.

  14. There is a group of people that want to watch things like the combine. For those people, I am sure most of them found a way in the past to watch that, either taking time off, watching at work, or recording it for later. But, the combine is very much a niche offering, and unless they are going to start showing interviews (which they absolutely should not do), I cannot imagine there is much there to interest the casual fan.

  15. i said before the combined, if its a lazy weekend ill watch, like i did a bit last year on sat and sunday mornings. But primetime hours? there are better shows to watch or things to do then watch some ppl catch some balls and run around a cone.

  16. xbam says:
    March 5, 2020 at 7:52 am
    the rating would go up if they rotated the location of the event so it wasnt just in Indy…just sayin’


    How does this make sense at all? You’ll watch guys run 40 yard dashes if they’re doing it on a different field?

  17. Like others have said, I follow the NFL pretty much year round. The combine to me is best in recaps on football shows. I don’t need to see it live and I don’t need to see it in prime time.

    DVRs exist for a reason.

  18. I have no interest or desire to watch the combine. Everything I need to know about it, I can read on

  19. “I love draft season but the majority of other football fans i know aren’t in to it as much. It’s not for everyone.”

    My question is always where people find the time to watch all of it. Plus, anything noteworthy gets reported on and you quickly hear that somebody ran a great time or can watch a quick video of the punter who can outbench all the regular players. It’s like the draft: You can watch the entire thing live and come away with basically no additional knowledge than people who spend a few minutes catching up after the fact.

  20. I believe some of this is an indirect result of an increasing number of cord-cutters not having access to the NFL Network.

  21. The fact that it has any interest at all as a TV product speaks to the NFL’s popularity.

  22. Maybe, now hear me out here, ratings are what they are because it is world class boring to watch.

  23. I love reading the combine recaps but watching it is boring as hell. Not everything has to be pm TV.

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