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NFL Kickoff Ratings Down 16.1% From 2019

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The NFL should probably consider this a win, considering how many of their main consumer base said would not watch

NFL ratings: Initial results show decline for K.C.-Houston kickoff game

The initial wave of NFL ratings for Thursday night’s season kickoff have arrived, and the preliminary numbers are down for the NFL. However, the event was the most-watched sporting event since the Super Bowl, and only the second show since the Super Bowl to exceed 20 million viewers. (The Academy Awards in February averaged 23.9 million.)

According to Deadline, the Kansas City-Houston game initially rated a 5.2 among adults 18-49, the key demographic for advertisers, and boasted a preliminary total of 16.4 million viewers. At the moment — ratings are adjusted upward as more reports roll in — that’s a 16.1 percent drop from last year’s kickoff between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears.

As more numbers came in Friday afternoon, NBC reported a total audience of 20.3 million viewers, down from last year’s 22 million in the same timeslot. Overall, the game averaged a nationwide rating of 11.2/23, down from last year’s 12.8/26.

Remember, the Packers-Bears game itself was down, as were ratings last year.

Critics of the league will point to the NFL’s newfound social justice activism as the reason for the decline. While that may be true, ratings are an inexact science, capable of detecting action but not motivation. Possible reasons for the initial decline include:

Yeah, they offer Reasons, the first which is the social justice activism. And there being no preseason. Doubtful on that one. And competition from the NBA and Stanley Cup Finals. And a tennis match. Yeah, if you’re throwing a tennis match as a Reason, it’s BS. This is the NFL. It should do well, if they weren’t killing their brand and driving away their primary consumer base. Then we get

Sports fatigue: Ratings for all sports, not just politically active ones, are down across the board. The twin societal hurricanes of a pandemic and racial protests have forced sports into a secondary role. Ongoing wildfires on the West Coast are a far more pressing concern to millions than whether Patrick Mahomes has a good day passing. It’s tough to relax with football when the world is crushing down on you.

Could it be that ratings are down because of the virtue signaling, calling the majority of people who watch them racists?

Few outside-the-home options: Ratings as of this season will begin including outside-the-home viewing. But with most bars and restaurants still closed, the opportunities for watching outside the home are slim.

Oh, please, it was pretty much available to most people with a TV.

The matchup: Multiple television ratings experts contacted by Yahoo Sports noted that the most important factor controlling NFL ratings isn’t politics or competition, it’s matchups. A good matchup between marquee teams will carry the day, and from that standpoint, Thursday night wasn’t a powerhouse showdown. The Chiefs are now one of the league’s top draws, but the Texans have struggled to draw attention on the national stage. They struggled on the field, too, falling behind 31-7 before losing 34-20.

Again, oh, please. It’s not like it was the Redskins playing the Giants, two bad teams.

That’s an article from 2013, but, it still applies. The main viewership of the NFL was Republican voters. And ones who are more likely to turn out to vote. It wasn’t that big among Democrats, like the NBA. They’re driving away that viewership, and it will be interesting to see the results of the season. Advertisers haven’t moved on yet, but, if ratings are way down, why pay top dollar for ads?


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