Much like 2016, NFL television viewership numbers went down again in 2017. Except this time, the viewership numbers dropped by a larger percentage than the previous year.
According to USA Today Sports, the average television audience size amongst the NFL’s broadcast partners — CBS, NBC, ESPN, NFL Network, and Fox — fell by 10 percent in 2017. That decline, follows an 8 percent drop from 2016.
As USA Today explains, “NFL broadcasts had an average minute audience of 14.9 million compared to 16.5 million in 2016. CBS, Fox, NBC and ESPN had a smaller audience than 2016.
“ESPN, which included its streaming audience, had the lowest drop among the four networks at a 7.7% decline. Fox had a 9.1% drop, NBC dipped 10.4% and CBS fell 11.2% compared to 2016.”
While the consistent year-to-year drop in television numbers supports the argument that the NFL suffers from certain, systemic issues; such as oversaturation, too many penalties, concussion backlash, and no one knowing what constitutes a catch.
The fact that viewership fell by an even larger amount in 2017, a year where politics and anthem protests were far more pervasive than in 2016, suggests that the anthem demonstrations are making an already serious problem, much worse.