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.