The NFL was underwhelming during the first week of the season, and merely whelming during the second week.
Fox saw a massive ratings surge in Week 2, however, CBS and NBC saw their numbers go down compared to last year. While Fox’s feature broadcast of the Cowboys and Broncos, drew a whopping 18% increase over last year’s broadcast in that same afternoon time slot. However, on Sunday, the Cowboys and Broncos was delayed for over an hour due to inclement weather. That delay resulted in a far larger audience for Fox, giving the network, essentially, an hour of unopposed coverage.
A look at the ratings for the rest of the league, paint a far more grim picture. Ratings for NBC’s Sunday Night Football Were down, as were ratings for CBS, and Fox’s early slate of afternoon games.
According to USA Today:
NBC’s telecast of the Atlanta Falcons’ 34-23 victory over the Green Bay Packers netted an overnight rating of 12.6 and a 21 share.
The numbers announced by NBC on Monday morning included 50 metered markets, which once again did not include Florida as the state recovers from Hurricane Irma. Last year’s Minnesota Vikings-Packers game on Sunday Night Football had a final rating of 12.7.
CBS reported a combined overnight of 9.2 with a 20 share for its games on Sunday.
Fox’s first game Sunday as part of it’s double header had an overnight rating of 8.5, which was down about 20% compared CBS’s early game last year per Sports Media Watch.
NFL Spokesman Joe Lockhart summed the weekend up, charitably: “Sunday was kind of a mixed bag. Fox had a huge audience, especially given there was a weather delay of about an hour.”
Again, it could easily be argued the delay in the Cowboys-Broncos game actually benefited the rating. However, while the dip in NBC’s overnight rating isn’t huge. The drop for the Fox early game is quite significant. Either way, these aren’t the numbers the NFL wants to see.