There’s been a lot made about NFL ratings thus far on the young 2020 season. The opening week of action saw a dramatic decline, both on “Thursday Night Football” and “Monday Night Football.” With that said, there’s not a lot of conclusions we can draw given the early nature of the season.
What we do know is that NFL ratings are making headlines given we’re in an election cycle. Combine that with widespread national anthem protests around the football world and the divisive political landscape, and it’s on the front burner.
As for the NFL, it has some good news to report.
NFL ratings for Chiefs-Ravens Week 3 “Monday Night Football” matchup were through the roof
According to Sports Media Watch, a resounding 14.2 million viewers tuned into Monday’s elite matchup between two top-end title contenders. A game that saw Kansas City dominate its AFC rivals was also up 32% in comparison to the same time slot last season.
There’s one big caveat here. The 2019 NFL season saw the Chicago Bears take on the Washington Football Team on “Monday Night Football” Week 3. That’s not necessarily an appealing national matchup. It was also down 14% from the Week 3 primetime game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2018.
NFL “Monday Night Football” ratings present mixed bag in 2020
ESPN will more than be happy in the increase in NFL ratings for its Week 3 broadcast. However, it’s way too early to read too much into this. In fact, the first two Monday night’s of the 2020 NFL season drew a mixed bag.
- “Monday Night Football” Week 1 was down a huge number from the 2019 season. The doubleheader featured the New York Giants taking on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the opener with the Denver Broncos hosting the Tennessee Titans in the late game. The initial game was down 18% from a season ago while the late game was down a whopping 28%.
- Week 2 of “Monday Night Football” saw the Raiders host the New Orleans Saints in their first ever game as a Las Vegas-based team. Ratings for that specific matchup were up 32% from a season ago. However, interest in the Raiders’ Vegas debut also included the game being broadcast on both ABC and ESPN.
President Donald Trump and the NFL national anthem protests
With just over a month to go before the 2020 Presidential Election between President Trump (R) and Joe Biden (D), we’re starting to hear even more rhetoric regarding the widespread national anthem protests we’ve seen around the NFL.
President Trump previously called out the NFL for allowing players to partake in the protests. All the while, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has made it clear that he supports the Black Lives Matter movement and related protests.
This has led to a boycott of sorts from some around the United States. Hence, why the NFL ratings have become somewhat of a big deal.
We’re not even a quarter of the way through the 2020 NFL season. It’s way too early to tell whether said boycotts have impacted the NFL ratings. What we do know is that there’s certainly a political divide here.
Back in 2016, NFL ratings decreased a lot during election season. That’s primarily true because multiple nationally televised games went up directly against debates between then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump. The same thing will ring true this fall.
- October 15: Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills
- October 22: New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles
It’s going to be interesting to see how that first game does directly up against a debate. The Chiefs and Bills are two of the best teams in the NFL heading into Week 4. There would typically be a lot of interest in that game between AFC title contenders.