NFL Ratings Dip, But TV Ad Costs Rise

Although NFL TV ratings declined by 9% in the regular season, the cost of a 30-second advertising unit climbed almost by the same level for networks.

The seasonal average for all NFL games on TV networks was up 6% to $499,095 for a 30-second commercial, according to Standard Media Index.

Both NFL Championship games did even better -- on average -- up 8%. Fox’s Green Bay-Atlanta was 11% higher to $1.8 million; CBS’ airing of Pittsburgh-New England AFC game grew 5% on 30-second commercial versus the year before to $1.6 million.

During the regular season, all NFL series of games grew: NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” rose 6% to $614,972 per spot; CBS “Thursday Night Football” was up 9% to $537,494; and ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” inched up 1% to $301,733.

In addition, Sunday afternoon/daytime games climbed. Games on Fox added 6% to $531,871 while CBS increased 4% to $406,405.

NBC averaged $673,231 for its five games of the “Thursday Night Football” series. NBC now shares this series with CBS which aired the first five games of “TNF.”

In 2015, NBC aired two Thursday games, but not part of the TNF series -- the NFL Kickoff and on Thanksgiving -- averaging $808,648.

MoffettNathanson Research says NFL regular season games were down 9% in 2016 to an average 17.1 million viewers; NFL Playoff games were 6% lower to average 32.6 million viewers.

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