Final Ratings: World Series +6.6 Million, Leaving NFL Only Major Sport to Drop U.S. Viewers

The final numbers are in and … Breitbart’s estimate that an average of 21 million homes tuned in for the World Series games during the past two years proved very close — with the final figure calculated at 20.8 million, an increase of 6.6 million homes over the two World Series before the NFL protests began.

The NFL is the only major TV sport to drop, as college football and college basketball’s March Madness saw huge jumps and the NBA Finals added almost a million viewers per game (Average viewers for NASCAR and the NHL and Major League Soccer championships are all much smaller at fewer than 5 million.).

A new AP story indicates NFL viewership for the first half of 2017 dropped to 14.8 million, even worse than the dismal 15.6 million last year for an average of 15.2 million during the two seasons of protests. That is a drop of almost five million from the average 20 million that watched on Fox and CBS during the two seasons before the protest, as calculated by an early 2016 Sports Illustrated story predicting the numbers would keep rising. Most games are on CBS or Fox, though NBC’s Sunday night football drew higher ratings and ESPN drew lower ratings for Sunday Night and Monday night football respectively.

Millions of TV sets 2014-15 2016-17 Change
NFL TV (CBS/Fox) 20.0 15.2 4.8 million fewer
World Series 14.2 20.8 7.0 million more

The drop of almost five million per game for the NFL perhaps contributed to the increase of 6.6 million per World Series games. Nielson ratings further calculate that the average American home with a TV includes 2.5 people, so the rating would indicate between 20 million and 50 million viewers for each World Series game depending on how many were in the home, or more if guests who did not live in the home were present.

College Football, NBA Finals & March Madness Also Increase

Further complicating liberal arguments that the NFL decline has nothing to due with protests, every other major US sports draw is increasing.

The Chicago Tribune reported earlier this season that while the NFL ratings continue to decline, viewers are also going to college football Tribune notes:

But while NFL ratings have slid compared to last season, they have risen for college football. NFL ratings in Week 2 were down 15 percent from last season, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Meanwhile, year-over-year college football ratings have increased, more than 50 percent in several time slots. The NFL has trotted out many explanations for why ratings have dipped the past two years, from the election to hurricanes. Those reasons, though, are not pushing viewers from college football.

The NBA Finals added a million a game, in the same comparison, from 10.5 million to 11.4 million, and the March Madness semifinals (over 12 million) and title game (23 million) also took a huge jump.


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