The NFL is in deep trouble. That’s what President Donald Trump wants us to believe, and fans have been bombarded all year with the narrative that television ratings are down because of all the kneeling.
Well, about that.
Just check out this information, which shows the NFL was actually more popular in 2017 then it was the year before relative to other television shows.
In 2016, NFL games were 28 of the 50 most-watched American television broadcasts
In 2017, NFL games were 37 of the 50 most-watched American television broadcasts https://t.co/F3cvC5Nbw8
— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) January 2, 2018
Even better is that 20 of the top 30 were NFL games.
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) January 2, 2018
We know that television ratings are lower these days for the NFL compared to its peak. But guess what? So is everything else that’s measured the same way. In fact, no scripted shows whatsoever made the top 50 in most-watched American television broadcasts.
The NFL accounted for 37 of the most-watched TV broadcasts of 2017. The rest? NBA, MLB, college sports, live events. Zero scripted shows. https://t.co/GBBkUih8sm
— Anthony Crupi (@crupicrupicrupi) January 2, 2018
The overriding factor that is currently influencing the rating numbers that we see, which does show ratings are down across the board including sports like the NFL, is that streaming services have begun to take over.
Cord cutters are increasing their numbers as more and more people realize they can save a ton of cash by eschewing cable and satellite television in favor of streaming services.
The NFL does have issues that it needs to address — brain injuries, overall quality of play, over-saturation, etc. — but to say that the league is in trouble due to declining ratings is to completely miss the point. Television itself is changing. The NFL is still wildly popular and is still, by far, the king of American entertainment.