NFL Tells Teams Not to Worry About Crashing TV Ratings

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An NFL official told the teams not to worry over the league’s crashing TV ratings, and said that the election and COVID are the reasons for lower viewership.

Sports Business Journal recently reported that NFL media operations man, Brian Rolapp, sent a memo to all the teams to allay their fears over the consistently bad ratings. Rolapp reasoned that both presidential politics and coronavirus hysteria was naturally diverting the attention of fans and resulting in fewer viewers.

“The 2020 presidential election and other national news events are driving substantial consumption of cable news, taking meaningful share of audience from all other programming,” reporter John Ourand claimed that Rolapp told the teams. “Historically, NFL viewership has declined in each of the past six presidential elections.”

Rolapp also pointed to the coronavirus as another reason for the lower ratings.

“The pandemic has caused several major sports to postpone their schedules, resulting in an unprecedented fall calendar,” Rolapp said. “The result is a crowded content marketplace driving a bifurcation of sports viewers across multiple events.”

Rolapp noted that the NFL season’s portion during the 2016 presidential election that put Donald Trump in the White House also took a significant ratings hit. And this year, the NHL and NBA have encroached into traditional football time because COVID pushed their seasons later in the year. That, Rolapp added, also took viewers from the NFL.

Rolapp, predictably, did not mention the players social justice protests as a cause for the ratings drop,

The most recent ratings for the league showed that Week 3 lost more than one million viewers over Week 2. Thursday Night Football’s game between the Miami Dolphins and the Jacksonville Jaguars, for instance, fell to 5.3 million viewers, a drop from the 6.67 million that last week’s Thursday Week 2 game.

Ultimately, the NFL exec told the teams not to get too upset over the six percent decline in viewers over last year’s season-opening games. He is sure that it will all even out after the 2020 elections.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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