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Time to Take the NFL’s Television Ratings Temperature Again

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A detail of a helmet and yard marker during the NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the San Francisco 49ers on Thursday, October 18, 2012 in San Francisco, California. Photo: AP

By Evan Weiner |

It’s Monday Night and that means another football game, and this one features the Seattle Seahawks against the Chicago Bears. But not all eyes will be on the field as some people from the National Football League office and a number of television executives will be looking at TV ratings from the season opener, the first week of Sunday’s morning-afternoon doubleheader to the night game and week two’s Thursday night game and trying to figure out how the NFL on network and cable TV is trending.

The first week of the season produced mixed results. The September 6 opener between Atlanta and Philadelphia had decent ratings but dropped 11 percent compared to the 2017 season opener. CBS and FOX had better than 2017 numbers for the first full Sunday schedule of the year but Sunday Night Football on NBC was down as was the ESPN two Monday night games.

It is far too early to judge whether the NFL has hit TV ratings bottom or if there is any rebounding. The most popular theory is that NFL ratings dropped because of the Colin Kaepernick led kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality in the African American community. But that is too simplistic.

Television viewing is very different today. You can get NFL games on mobile devices or go to a bar or restaurant and watch a game. Bars and restaurants are not rated, ratings is also just guess work. Kaepernick is a major issue to some, generally older people who are upset with his political stance yet younger people, the fans that the NFL really want to cultivate, apparently have no problem with Kaepernick. At least that seems to be the case with NIKE’s Kaepernick campaign. The football industry’s real problem is concussions and brain injuries. The NFL needs to convince parents football is safe to preserve football’s player pipeline.

This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.

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