The NFL ratings decline is very real, but it is still dominating broadcast television.
Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football on CBS and NBC suffered a noticeable decline in viewership. However, of the five highest rated prime-time programs on network television during fall 2017, three of those belong to the NFL.
The highest rated program on network television during the fall was Sunday Night Football and No. 2 was Thursday Night Football on CBS. Thursday Night Football on NBC came in at No. 4, according to NBC, via The Boston Globe’s Ben Volin.
Per NBC, the NFL was the No. 1, 2 and 4 rated TV shows this fall. pic.twitter.com/lT8iT2WHDQ
— Ben Volin (@BenVolin) December 28, 2017
People in the United States clearly still love football, but there are too many options for entertainment for the sport not to suffer a hit in viewership. Sunday Night Football ratings fell 13 percent in 2017, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The NFL isn’t even going to bother with a Week 17 Sunday Night Football game, because it would fall on New Year’s Eve. That didn’t even do well in 2006, when the Chicago Bears played the Green Bay Packers in what was speculated to be Brett Favre’s last game. With two of the league’s marquee franchises and one of its most popular players in an era with no Netflix, that game only had 13.4 million viewers, per CNN Money.
It is clear that the NFL is still the king of television, more than 100 million people will watch the Super Bowl, but they can’t avoid the fact that times are changing.