Halfway through the season, through eight weekends so far, the NFL has seen an 8% decline in Nielsen-measured viewership versus a year ago to 14.5 million viewers per game.
Analysts and network executives attribute the decline to an overload of sports TV competition due to the end-of-the-season NBA playoffs and finals and Major League Baseball’s World Series TV games.
In addition, issues arising from the COVID-19 pandemic have forced a rescheduling of some Fox and CBS Sunday games from Sunday time slots to Monday or Tuesday night-time periods.
Through eight weekends, NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” is 17% lower to 16.1 million viewers.
ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” posted one of the better NFL TV franchise performances -- dropping just 1% to 11.2 million viewers.
Comparing four games played so far this year to five games played a year ago, Fox/NFL Network’s “Thursday Night Football” has fallen 15% to 12.8 million viewers.
In 2019, through eight games, the NFL averaged 15.8 million -- up 6% versus the similar period during the 2018 season.
Through two months of the 2020 NFL season, iSpot.tv estimates national TV advertising spend is at $2.1 billion -- virtually the same as a year ago. iSpot.tv estimates that total NFL impressions are down 61.3 billion from 77.9 billion in 2019.