NFL Down 8% In Average Game Viewership Due To Sports TV Overload

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, estimates national TV advertising spend is at $2.1 billion -- virtually the same as a year ago. estimates that total NFL impressions are down 61.3 billion from 77.9 billion in 2019.

1 comment about "NFL Down 8% In Average Game Viewership Due To Sports TV Overload".
Check to receive email when comments are posted.
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 5, 2020 at 12:10 p.m.

    Wayne, we keep harping on average minute rating "losses" as if that was the key metric for advertisers. It isn't. Expect "ad spending" to keep rising for the NFL---and other pro sports---even though ratings willl continue to decline---due, in part to the atypical nature of the current games---no fans---and the normal rigors of audience fragmentation that affects all of TV---not just sports. More spending but lower ratings---how can this be? As they used to say in the Clinton years, "It's the intangibles, stupid."

Next story loading loading..