The NFL had high hopes for its long awaited return on Thursday night. Though, the league’s social justice themed season opener was evidently deemed non-essential as fans chose to quarantine themselves on other channels.
According to Deadline Hollywood, “…the Kansas City Chiefs pummeled the Houston Texans 34-20, and the ratings were down — a lot. In early numbers, the primetime NBC game scored a 5.2 among adults 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers between 8-11 p.m. ET.
“Now, those numbers for the 8:25-11:30 p.m. ET game will certainly be adjusted upward later, but right now they mark a 16.1% drop over the spectacle of the September 5, 2019 season opener in the advertiser-rich demographic. In an America and a NFL still adjusting to the new normal of live sports in the era of COVID-19, last night’s game also fell 16.1% in total sets of eyeballs from last year’s fast affiliate results.”
The ratings dive amounts to a 10-year low for the NFL and NBC.
“On a field bordered with the words “End Racism” and fans booing as players from both teams linked arms before kickoff in a sign of solidarity with those fighting social injustice, the ratings and viewership decline could be an ominous sign for a league and the networks,” Deadline reports. “The stellar numbers of last year’s opener, the Green Bay Packers’ grinding 10-3 victory over the Chicago Bears, kicked off a tightly run season that seemingly had reversed years of weakening numbers. Now it could be a case of déjà vu all over again.”