The NFL’s 2018 Comeback
Remember all the doom and gloom predictions about professional football over the past year? In 2017 the NFL’s TV ratings were down 9% and the league was caught up in controversies around National Anthem kneeling and player concussions. A year ago the conventional wisdom was that fans were losing interest in the league which was driving it’s cash cow TV ratings down.
As it turns out the prediction of the NFL’s demise may have been overstated. At the halfway point of the 2018 season ratings are up 1% overall, with even higher growth during the key viewing blocks including Sunday late afternoon and Sunday night.
The reason for the turnaround . . . the NFL schedule makers and the networks are doing a better job of featuring marquee games in the most important viewing windows. Over the past few seasons the league had tried to grow its fringe viewing to periods like Thursday night and even Sunday AM (for games in London). While this translated into more total football being broadcast each week, the content was spread so thin that the networks couldn’t always get the right matchups on during the powerhouse viewing periods. The extended schedule also created an “always on” numbing effect, where Sundays no longer seemed as special to football fans as they used to be.
Regardless of the exact reasons, the NFL’s ratings seems to be rebounding and their TV revenue is as strong as ever. I just wish I could say the same thing about my fantasy team. 🙂