Monday Night Football remains one of the most watched television programs of the week, and of course dominates the Monday night time slot its in.
However, just because this strong positioning remains, doesn’t necessarily mean things are going great for the network its hosted on. Earlier this week, there were reports that Nielsen showed a 600,000 subscriber drop for ESPN, one of the biggest yet.
This last week, a game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Buffalo Bills, which turned out to be a pretty exciting match up, actually ended up drawing the lowest viewership for MNF since 2007. And compared to last year’s week nine game, a terrible match up between the 2-5 Chicago Bears and the 2-6 San Diego Chargers, there was still a big drop off.
While it’s probably safe to largely attribute these terrible rankings to the recent presidential race taking up everyone’s head space, this is still symptomatic of a growing trend. The NFL has seen ratings declining across the board, with no one silver bullet reason as to why.
Some claim that people are upset with the political stances being taken by players, others complaining about a perceived increase in commercials. There’s the flag-happy referees that seem to be making calls on just about every play, and of course the election taking up people’s precious TV time.
Roger Goodell, the NFL commissioner, himself has stated he’s not really sure as to what he should blame these declining ratings on. For the time being, it will be interesting to see if the election being over helps the NFL spike back up.
Other sport leagues like the NBA have seen a gradual increase in viewership over the last few seasons, most likely attributed to some great competition, but also under the new commissioner’s leadership, players being given the freedom to be personalities.