The National Football League’s regular season ends this weekend and it has been a ponderous campaign with people weighing on a players quietly staging protests during the national anthem presentation, falling TV ratings, criticism of Commissioner Roger Goodell, complaints about on field play and officiating, the Papa John’s CEO crisis, concussions and an owner leaving the industry because of reports of sexual misconduct. But through it all, the NFL remains a strong presence on TV despite a slipping image.
The constant whine about the TV ratings is a weekly story. But it does pay to go inside the TV ratings game and see how the NFL has done in the calendar year 2017 from January until December. As it turns out, the numbers are surprisingly robust. In TV’s prized demographic for advertisers, 18 through 49 year olds, the NFL’s Sunday Night weekly offerings was only beaten by the series Walking Dead. Thursday Night Football came in sixth, the Sunday Night Football pre-game show seven and Monday Night Football was 10th overall. Sunday Night Football was the most watched over the air network weekly show. The NFL had seven of the top 10 rated 2017 shows led by the Super Bowl, NFL playoff games easily outdistanced the Oscars and the Grammys.
The NFL ratings are not the same as 2014 but the same thing can be said about other programming. Ratings and the anthem protests are lesser problems. A test of NFL resiliency will begin as soon the Jerry Richardson’s Carolina Panthers football team finishes the season. The 81-year old owner accused of sexual misconduct is selling the team. He might get more than $2 billion for a so-called failing business. The NFL is in much better shape than people in the know think.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.