The NFL’s stunning ratings collapse now has industry watchers wondering whether or not the Super Bowl could take a significant hit.
In a brief excerpt from Monday’s issue, The Hollywood Reporter poses the Super Bowl question to David Campanelli, Senior Vice President and Director of National Television at Horizon Media. According to THR, “As the lackluster 2016 football season enters its final month, the most talked-about issue affecting the sport still is its dipping ratings. Reports that the NFL, in response to fears of oversaturation, is considering ditching Thursday Night Football — contracted to air on CBS, NBC and the league’s cable net for at least another year — were followed by stern denials and then an all-time audience high (22 million viewers) for the Dec. 1 game.
“Still, with Sunday’s primetime telecasts off nearly 20 percent for the year, many already are wondering if Fox’s Feb. 5 Super Bowl broadcast will take a hit. Says Campanelli: “We definitely have seen better numbers since the election. But the biggest driver is getting more great matchups.”
The Super Bowl will surely get a good matchup, though a good matchup on the football field doesn’t always make for a great matchup on television. The 1999 Super Bowl between the Rams and Titans was a great matchup on the field, from a television standpoint not so much.
With the league’s ratings hovering somewhere below fish sediment, the NFL could especially use a quality TV product this year such as a Patriots/Cowboys matchup, since the Patriots would easily bring the largest audience out of any of the contenders in the AFC. This would, ironically, put Commissioner Goodell in the position of having to root for Tom Brady, the man he literally made a federal case against in the offseason.
Though, Goodell has always been chummy with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, so he won’t have a problem rooting for them.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter: @themightygwinn