NFL on alert to lower ratings

As enjoyable as it may be watching Jameis Winston get sacked, Monday night's Tampa Bay-Carolina game still lacked overall viewer appeal. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

As enjoyable as it may be watching Jameis Winston get sacked, Monday night’s Tampa Bay-Carolina game still lacked overall viewer appeal. (Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

Here’s a twist: While the Falcons certainly have stimulated interest in their product – putting the strut back into your local personal seat license sales staff – questions concerning the overall popularity of the NFL have arisen.

Just last week the Wall Street Journal reported that the league sent out a memo to its owners trying to calm concerns over declining television ratings. Do not panic. No one take a dive off his three-story stack of cash and sweetheart municipal deals just yet. Or words to that effect.

The NFL remains the biggest toy in the rumpus room. It couldn’t continue its geometric growth – the birth rate just couldn’t support it nor could the world’s supply of nachos and bean dip keep up with the demand.

But through the first quarter of its 2016 season, the league has seen an 11 percent drop in ratings, even more among that 18-to-34 demographic that advertisers love to get their claws into before they have children and their usefulness as careless consumers has expired.

This all has massive bottom-line implications, of course. The rate for all those commercials that no one sees so long as his or her remote has battery life are set by the number of eyeballs staring blankly at the game.

I’d like to think the reason for this is that the discerning football watcher has noted the college product on Saturday has been vastly more entertaining than the pro one on Sunday, Monday and Thursday. And that there being a finite amount of idle time available, said viewer is dedicating a larger portion to the color and pageantry branch of the football tree. There being no hard statistical proof of this, I’ll move off that soapbox.

There have been other theories. Feel free to pick one, or choose a combination platter.

The appetite for senseless violence is being sated by the presidential election – both debates to date have conflicted with NFL games.

There has been a “Kaepernick effect” in play, a general disgust with the “national discussion” sparked by the quarterback’s refusal to stand for the national anthem. A backlash, if not an actual boycott. Of course, now that the 49ers have reinstated Colin Kaepernick as the starter, that could bring back some fans who might wish to start cheering for the concussion.

Viewing habits in this short-attention-span, fantasy-football world have changed. Who has time to watch a game gradually unfold, to appreciate the finer points of field position and control of the line of scrimmage when there’s the RedZone channel?

Face it, some of the match-ups have possessed all the intrigue of an infomercial. Come to think of it, better to watch 30 minutes on a food dehydrator than a moment of that Carolina-Tampa Bay game Monday night. Perhaps this will change as the season ages and more concrete themes develop. Let us hope.

Whatever the cause, the Falcons fan base must rally. Now that it has been re-energized, it has a lot of football to watch in order to make up some of this ratings deficit. The lifestyles of the rich and the muscular are depending upon you.

Reader Comments 0

54 comments
EvanT
EvanT

It's Kappernut pure and simple, plus the massive head injury rip-off law suit.

I want escape thru sports, no t liberal protests and shake downs.

E983
E983

I started giving them less of my attention 3 years ago. Games are too long because of the commercial content. SNF, MNF and TNF are a joke. Sometimes four and a half hours or longer just because of commercial content. My first Sunday Ticket on DirecTV in '98 was $50. Last year it was nearly $400. It went up again this year. I told them to discontinue it. Season tickets? $2000 a year. Oh, by the way, Roger Goodell is a joke. I've got better things to spend that kind of money. So why is the NFL losing viewers? Continue this and the NFL will continue to lose viewer. And money.

Soybean Bob
Soybean Bob

hooray!!  i despise the NFL... the national fleecing league... do not give your money to these bafoons... basically the product is an endless series of commercials interrupted occasionally by 22 men many of which badly need exercise

OldBlindDawg
OldBlindDawg

I had what I thought was a unique comment - then I read all the comments. They covered it - too many commercials - too much show boating after plays they should make - Kaperprick - Brady - the list is endless.


College is equally bad - crap commentators - too many commercials. 


For a few years I have used my DVR to record the games. I used to wait about 45 minutes before viewing so I could skip the commercials. It worked great as long as I didn't know the outcome - just like watching live. 


Now there are so many commercials I catch up to the live action before half time. Guess I need to wait and hour (likely an hour and a half) so as to avoid catching up. 


TV is killing the Golden Goose. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

Hey AJC: 


Were tired of the hot car guy and doctors and sex abuse. 


#TMZ #nationalenquierer 



DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

"enquierer"???

Learn how to spell before you run that yap again, dolt.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


Hashtags didn't exist back in the day, right Mrs. Landers? 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Stop deflecting and learn how to spell, lying hypocrite.

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Too many very rich owners putting local jurisdictions on notice to raise taxes and pay for a stadium or they're going to move. 


That kinda puts a bad taste in people's mouths.  Sure, a team might be good, but come on. You guys are billionaires now. Buy yourself a new stadium if you want it. Don't make a city or state pay for a new one when there is a perfectly good one that is still there. 


I'm looking at you Falcons, Raiders, Chargers, and Rams. Also with an eye out to the other 28 teams (okay, except for the Packers) who have done it or would do it, too.

mgunter
mgunter

NFL started losing me last year, Brady cheating, all th celebration garbage after routine plays, jocks who think saying crap on social media doesn't have consequences (Crowell), failed drug test and woman abuse. Disrespecting flag and Police by jocks was th straw that broke th camels back for me. I've found many productive ways to spend my Sunday afternoons now and don't miss it a bit.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@mgunter


Crowell?


The Annointed (dog) One?


#throatslash #cop

@mgunter Exactly, a player makes a play that he is supposed to make and he has to go into a vaudeville routine. Can't respect the flag of his country for two minutes because of all of the oppression that others risk their lives to come to, Every third play results in a flag being thrown. Extended video reviews of plays. The protection of the quarterback to the extent that you can't wrinkle his dress...yes, we grow weary of much of it!

bdyguy
bdyguy

The DVR is the only way to watch an NFL game. FF through the commercials, half time, tiemouts penalty reviews and general slowness. I prefer watching the game on the DVR
to the live event.

mrjameswilliams
mrjameswilliams

Looks like I'm the only goofball here that's boycotting because of the anthem nonsense.  At first it was all games except my Giants, but I realized that was hypocritical so no Jints the past three weeks either.  The NFL wouldn't allow the Cowturds (sorry, boys) to put a DECAL on their helmet to honor DEAD cops, but urinating on Vets, Cops, Airmen-women, Soldiers, etc is okiedokie.  Well, not by me.

I might jones when NASCAR is done, but for now?  Done.  Emailed Anhauser Busch that I was dumping my favorite Mich Ultra and switching to Coors and told them to thank the NFL.  (Turns out Coors is good and I'll stick with it).  Also cancelled my PapaJohns-D'Angelo's reward card and told them why, too.  Gonna go to local mom-and-popper shops more.

Gotta vote with my wallet, whether they give a darn or not.

 

Oakland
Oakland

I have season tickets for GT football. Nice stadium, but similar to the NFL, too many loud commercials during breaks. I agree with much of what ChessMaster wrote. However, I just don't watch the Falcons or the NFL that much anymore. Last year's Super Bowl half time show and this year with the 49ers QB and others has just turned me off. I'm sure they and others believe in their cause, but I just want to watch football. So, good bye NFL and hello hiking and maybe fishing.

mrjameswilliams
mrjameswilliams

@Oakland Man, I forgot about that halftime show!  I didn't see it live, because that's time to grill, but saw clips later.  Thanks for reminding!

atlanta spirit
atlanta spirit

I have "taken a knee" to watching any games other than the falcons.  

OH:IO
OH:IO

Speaking of ratings, dogs vs. Vandy in a noon snoozer!


SEC! SEC! 


And to think, UL La La is still to come! 

OldBlindDawg
OldBlindDawg

@OH:IO Wake up - this is about the NFL not your beloved Buckeyes - nobody cares about your team or conference. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Dawgs don't play "UL La La," dimbulb.

How many noon snoozers has Ohio St had, lying hypocrite?

ChessMaster
ChessMaster

I can't speak for any one else but I like to watch football. I have season tickets to the Dawgs and like to watch the Falcons. I considered their season ticket package as well. However, I am tired of 60 minutes of football taking up three and a half hours. Two games a weekend is a work day. Attend an NFL game and you understand why Cheerleaders are important. There is a lot of standing around with nothing happening. And the constant noise between plays is simply too much. 


Watching on TV is worse.  The pounding of products in my face. I understand sponsorship but there is a limit. BTW, when I am watching Fox, CBS or NBC, why to they have to advertise football? I'm already watching. Get back to the program.



Then there's this year.  I don't like people wearing 'cops as pigs' socks lecturing me on my biases. Don't try to tell me that sexual violence by players was just discovered. Inflate gate should have been over years ago. Quit trying to tell me what's wrong with me and clean up your own house. This is supposed to be entertainment. I liked watching football and not worrying about contracts, point spreads, criminal proceedings, etc. 


Rant off>>


FineousMcDirtyBird
FineousMcDirtyBird

@ChessMaster Agreed. Every season we hear owners grumbling about long game times and, instead of shortening or eliminating the egregious amount of media timeouts, they tinker with the product on the field which people already liked in the first place.


That said, the pro product is much better than the college product, by and large. GO FALCONS!!!

Dan_B
Dan_B

Let's face it, the NFL is really just an endless series of the same 7 commercials with a couple breaks to watch grown men bash heads. 


The NFL needs more play and less commercials. 

dawg fan
dawg fan

I've thought the NFL was pretty boring for a while now and don't pay much attention to it.  It's also become a bit like professional wrestling with all the sideshow antics of some of the players.   

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

We had to figure at some point, the demand would peak.  I bet some of the reasons are what you mentioned, Hummer.  


The millennials are a sensitive lot.  With helmets on, it's hard to celebrate the diversity of the combatants.  We have to await Super Bowl halftime shows for that.  


I'm an old fart (as is self-evident by my comments, no doubt) but I get offended by the NFL and networks shameless gouge of their customers.  Games are platforms for ads interrupted occasionally by football.


Owners are extorting ridiculously opulent arenas from their civic leaders/fan bases to increase their bottom lines.  Not a crime, just kinda disgusting.  The new stadium in LA might push the envelope off the table in this regard.  Artist renderings look like something you'd see in Saudi Arabia.  I wonder if human sacrifice will be halftime entertainment and lap dances offered in the VIP boxes?


The quality of Thursday night games sucks as was mentioned.  


A downturn in demand, for whatever reason, may get the league's attention if it's a big enough drop.


But sorry, soccer and the X-games ain't a viable alternative for American football.  Not yet.  





Manman
Manman

@CardiganBoy "But sorry, soccer and the X-games ain't a viable alternative for American football.  Not yet."

But the NBA is. *All* of my millenial friends love the NBA, can't get enough of it, and we can't wait for the season to start. NFL better watch out because the NBA could easily continue its meteoric popularity.

GSPInc
GSPInc

Glorification of the SJW which appeals to less than 20% of their audience. Also included is the MSNBC type political commentary and stories plastered all over ESPN.

CardiganBoy
CardiganBoy

@GSPInc ESPN has completely sold out to the millennial market and their addiction to social media. They're not alone, but jeezus.  Do I have to get King James' and Ashton Kutcher's tweet perspective on everything?


And to think, 10 years ago, previous management at ESPN thought adding Rush Limbaugh to their stable of talent was a good idea.  


How times have changed.


Love ESPNU and the SEC Network.  Still relatively untainted by trendy BS. Just no-nonsense football analysis deftly accentuated with pulchritude.  



gohikake
gohikake

Online jobs....

My Uncle Logan just got a nine month old Mercedes-Benz CL-Class Coupe by working from the internet. you could look here 

http://www.buzz.jobs14.com


OH:IO
OH:IO

dog is a hole - note this from 6 days ago. 


THU OCT. 6, 2016

Should the NFL Be Worried About Ratings?

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Irrelevant, as your moronic contribution generally are.

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


No, your dogs and holes are irrelevant on this glorious Oct. 12, 


BWHAHAHAHA

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

They're relevant as long as they have games to play.

Ask Clemson fans if their game with FSU is relevant.

Ask fla fans if their game with UGA is relevant.

Here it is football season, and you're still striking out.

DawgNole
DawgNole

It's the increasing onslaught of annoying, insufferable, suffocating, repetitive TV commercials that constantly stop play for extended periods. And actually attending a game is even more miserable, as you wait endlessly for the action to resume.

The fact that this deplorable situation is driven by unmitigated TV network GREED makes it small wonder that NFL fans are finally tiring of being abused simply for being fans.

BigRing
BigRing

@DawgNole  Agreed.  I recorded a falcons game and fast forwarded through the commercials and half time.  Was done in about an hour and a half. 

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


Hey, don't bring deplorables into this. 


Abused for simply being a fan??


You know better than most, dog is a hole. 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@BigRing @DawgNole

That's the best way to watch them anymore--a major time saver--although you must shield yourself from how the game actually went if you want to watch the recording "live."

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole @BigRing


You must shield yourself if you want to watch a "live" recording?


Wow. Who knew?


Thanks for the heads up. 

Therut
Therut

My reason not to watch? Way to many commercials & reviews!

1337S0lja
1337S0lja

The reason the ratings are dropping is because people are getting cheaper cable packages which do not include ESPN, NFL Network, etc...  Also, if the NFL would get away from its Orwellian agenda and get back to purely football then I think the ratings would increase. Sports is a getaway for people who bombarded with the political and ethical problems in the world today (much of it propaganda). The National Cause League is starting to wear on people and simply they are just tired of it.  All we want to do is watch a competitive game.  The NFL (I only watch my home team really) is watering down their sport with agendas and its getting old...bundle that with a series of commercials every timeout and its becomes blah.  Too much greed will corrupt anything.

OH:IO
OH:IO

Not exactly breaking news. 


Several days old, actually.


AJC! AJC! 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Hummer's not pretending to "break" news here. He's simply offering his take on the topic, which is what he's paid to do.

Are you just stupid?

OH:IO
OH:IO

@DawgNole


Are you just a redneck or a catholic?


His "takes" are hardly timely. 


The AJC has a ton of 2-3 day old, and older "headlines". 

DawgNole
DawgNole

@OH:IO

Yup, you are just stupid.

He's not writing a "news story," idiot. He's a columnist--like Schultz and Bradley--whose job has nothing to do with timely reporting of the news. 

The ratings decline is not a singular event; it's something that's gradually unfolding this season.

As always, you're out of your league--and your mindless babbling has exposed you once again.

@OH:IO You are such a gem, you must be very popular at parties.