HBO didn’t draw much of an audience for the season premiere of Hard Knocks.
The first episode of this year’s NFL training camp reality show drew just 273,000 viewers, according to Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal. That’s a huge decline from the 705,000 who watched the first episode last year, and may be the smallest audience ever for any episode of Hard Knocks.
It’s unclear why the audience shrank so much. It could be that the format — featuring both the Rams and the Chargers — isn’t as interesting as an inside look at one team. It could be that the show is getting stale after years of showing fans an offensive line coach barking out orders while standing on a blocking sled, and an undrafted rookie getting upset when he gets cut.
Whatever the reasons, that’s a highly disappointing number for HBO, at a time when some thought fans were so desperate for the return of football that they’d watch any football-related content.