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The NFL’s Ratings Still Crawling Back to Normal

Through Week 6 of the National Football League, the deficit of TV viewers is continuing to close as compared to the numbers for last season, albeit at an incredibly slow pace.

The Numbers are Down from 2016

Over the course of Week 6, the 37 national telecasts for the NFL averaged 15.3 million viewers, as reported by Sports Media Watch, who compiled the data. This is down 7.2% from the average of 16.5 million viewers for the same week last season, even though the sport is popular as far afield as New Zealand. The 2017 viewership numbers do not, however, include the most recent Monday Night Football telecast, as these numbers were not available at the time of going to press.

The Gap is Narrowing, However

The TV viewership of NFL games dropped 12.3% after Week 1, but this gap had narrowed to 7.3% after Week 5 came to an end. Punters who enjoy American Football games at the sports betting NZ offers unfortunately do not count!

After this season’s Week 1, every subsequent Week of NFL telecasts drew steadily more fans than last season, although Week 6 was the smallest gain year-over-year. Week 3 and 5 for this season showed evidence of the biggest gains in viewership, but they were going up against the games of 2016 which were competing with presidential debates.

Michael Nathanson, an analyst for MoffettNathanson, has reported that the task of comparing the NFL viewership ratings with those of 2016 will become more difficult after Week 9, which follows Election Day of 2016.

Despite the overall trend, viewership by individual game or network has stayed erratic. Omar Sheikh, an analyst for Credit Suisse, has just lowered his estimate for CBS by 5%, partly as a result of the soft ratings its NFL broadcasts get. Any ratings-based forecasts made by Sheikh or other analysts may, however, be a function of the high expectations going into the 2017 season, according to sources.

TV Ratings Mixed Amidst National Anthem NFL Protests

The commotion over the national anthem and President Trump calling to boycott the NFL have not, however, seemed to have much of an effect on the League’s most recent ratings.

The Redskins/Raiders match-up on NBC’s Sunday Night Football saw a dip of 11% in ratings compared to the same week in 2016, but CBS enjoyed a boost of 11% in its doubleheader on Sunday, in an analysis by Forbes. The afternoon game Fox aired had 16% less viewership than last year.