After years of television ratings that climbed with no end seemingly in sight, the NFL is scrambling to figure out why all of a sudden there’s been such a dramatic decline in viewers in 2016. Many reasons have been offered for the dip, and now fans are confirming many of the theories.
That’s right. Not surprisingly, there is no one thing fans are pointing to for their tuning out in droves, according to data compiled by TheMMQB.com. Among the numerous reasons, quite of a few of which if not all you may have heard suggested at one time or another: The RedZone channel airing every big play from around the league live, interest in fantasy football over loyalty to specific teams and the use of streaming services and social media are all changing the way people consume football.
Some of the thinking behind the decrease in viewership is even more obvious. Too many commercials and too many penalties are finally driving viewers away, while with a minimum of three prime-time games per week plus all of the highlight and fantasy-football dedicated shows, the product has become overexposed.
When it comes down to it, fans are telling the NFL there isn’t any one reason. It’s a little bit of everything right now.
That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise either. Like anything else, the league’s yearly ratings increase was a bubble that had to burst eventually, and it appears to be happening now. Everybody could see the trends in households moving away from traditional cable and finding new ways to follow their favorite sports. Some it is merely a matter of timing, as the U.S. presidential race has diverted attention, while the national anthem protest sparked by Colin Kaepernick is turning people off, as well.
The only thing the NFL can control, it seems, are complaints about the quality of the game and broadcast. If ratings keep falling as quickly as they have in 2016, it surely won’t take long for some of those to finally get addressed.