Monday, January 9, 2017

NFL an MVP for TV Networks

Sports business practitioners have closely watched TV ratings for the National Football League this season. Is the teflon brand of the sports industry vulnerable? Is fan interest waning? Would fan backlash to player national anthem protests and other negative PR show up in fewer TV viewers? Are there just too many entertainment options that pull away people from consuming NFL games? TV ratings for the 2016 NFL regular season reveal two things: 1) fewer people are watching NFL games and 2) the NFL is still a very valuable property for TV networks.

A Ratings Slide


ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell recently reported NFL TV ratings for the 2016 regular season were down eight percent from 2015. The comparison excluded Thursday night games as Twitter live streaming debuted this season as another option to watch and gave fans a non-TV option to consume. Ratings were down for all NFL TV programs and all networks. ESPN Monday Night Football took the biggest ratings hit, down 12% from 2015. NBC Sunday Night Football also suffered a double-digit ratings decline with a 10% decrease in ratings. Ratings for CBS and Fox Sunday games were down seven percent and six percent, respectively. 

The presidential election season is cited as one reason for the dip in NFL TV audiences. In fact, ratings were down more in the first half of the NFL season, which coincided with the run up to the election. However, the bottom line is NFL TV viewership was down this season. Should NFL executives and the TV networks be worried? In short, no.

NFL is TV MVP


If the television industry handed out MVP awards, the NFL would need to bring a U-Haul trailer to the awards ceremony to pack all of its hardware. Despite a decline in audience viewership, it is undeniable that the NFL remains popular TV viewing. The average audience for an NFL game was 16.5 million in 2016. The NFL audience size makes it one of the strongest TV properties around. A recent Ad Age article reporting the top 50 TV program audiences for 2016 revealed that 11 of the top 20 programs were NFL games. All but one of the games were in the postseason, but the point is the NFL remains highly relevant as a TV product. The NFL is an MVP (Most Valuable Program) to its broadcast partners.

It's Not Just the NFL


Ratings concerns are not limited to the NFL. Network TV has dealt with dwindling audiences for years. First, cable networks fragmented audiences. Then, the internet and social media gave us more options for how we entertain ourselves. How have TV audiences changed over time? Take a look at TV ratings for top network shows at different points in time:

Year
Program
Nielsen Rating*
1986
The Cosby Show
33.7
1996
ER
22.0
2006
American Idol
17.6
2016
NCIS
12.8
* One ratings point = 1% of U.S. TV households

Given that a single ratings point equals about 1.2 million viewers, NFL programs draw large audiences and in turn, the interest of advertisers. The TV audience is forever fragmented; we will never see a TV program with a 67.3 rating like that of I Love Lucy in 1954 (it helped to have three TV viewing options- no issue with media fragmentation in those days). Programs like NFL games offer the closest thing to the "good old days" of large audiences drawn to a single program.

NFL to Determine Future Success


The consistent performance of the NFL as a TV property shows little signs of letting up despite a ratings dip in 2016. There is one huge caveat, though. The NFL must maintain interest in its product on the field and manage its image off the field. Arrogance or indifference to concerns about safety and player conduct could derail the NFL train. Otherwise, the NFL will continue to be an MVP for TV networks.

Check out TV ratings for NFL regular season games in 2016 at Sports Media Watch.

16 comments:

  1. NFL is the best sports hub and headlines for tv network, It is the best platform to get success in sports field. Reach out to more players through the passionleague and share videos and follow the players. Sports Social Media

    ReplyDelete
  2. Vegas D Sports is at long last here to give you a portion of the best games wagering picks accessible. Likewise, this site offers a remarkable administration concentrated on conveying the most intense data for games wagering accessible.http://doplaysports.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. best croquet sets quality These can be avoided and healed using sports tape. Let's have a look at how to choose the right sports tape and how do they help?

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for sharing nice information with us. i like your post and all you share with us is uptodate and quite informative, i would like to bookmark the page so i can come here again to read you, as you have done a wonderful job.

    Comcast packages at cabletvinternet. s9 .com

    ReplyDelete
  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Watching TV on the web is a piece of cake,. There are a a lot of options, through which one can have uninterrupted TV viewing experience on the web.

    ReplyDelete
  7. if you want your sports tapes to reach you as soon as possible with no additional shipping charges, we are the ones you should contact. We sell in bulk and provide free delivery.vertical jump

    ReplyDelete
  8. Traditional tobacco cigarettes adversely effect the health of the smokers and are the major reason for the development of health issues such as asthma, lung cancer, emphysema and various respiratory problems. Abitsaving.com

    ReplyDelete
  9. Training programmes for sports ought to be drawn up and implemented at year's end previously. Our athletes need to understand that that their season effectively began when their examinations are over.NBA Live Mobile Motivators players

    ReplyDelete
  10. Training isn't simply perusing, retaining, and composing homework, it is, truth be told, the advancement of one's identity. folding magnetic upright

    ReplyDelete
  11. An under round forms the basis of a sports arbitrage bet. Simply the under round is when the total number of probabilities priced by the odds on that event are below 100%.Wooden sports signs

    ReplyDelete
  12. In many cases, the restricted space in your home or office, will expect you to utilize imaginative association procedures keeping in mind the end goal to have the capacity to choose the most fitting arrangement of your TV, inside a room. Verizon Fios Double Play

    ReplyDelete
  13. What is their 'mystery'? These individuals will more often than not take after a games wagering framework. Following are three reasons you should utilize a games wagering framework when making sports bets. softball bat buddy

    ReplyDelete
  14. Online NFL betting has become a big thing with the explosion of the Internet.Madden NFL 18 Coins

    ReplyDelete
  15. This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing blog that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. Free apps

    ReplyDelete
  16. Some things are good. Some are great. Then comes this blog.
    live NHL stream

    ReplyDelete