Losing at Halftime: NFL Midseason Viewership Still Down 7% from Last Season

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The NFL has reached the midpoint of the 2020 season, but it’s reached that point with far fewer television viewers than it had at this time last year.

According to Front Office Sports, “At halftime of the 2020 season, the league is averaging 14.9 million viewers, down 7% from last season.”

One of the league’s bright spots was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Giants game. According to Front Office Sports, with Tom Brady leading them, the Buccaneers racked up a 17 percent jump over last season’s Week 9 game and earned 11.7 million viewers.

Still, there are many worries that the NFL is heading backward in ratings.

“After growing 5% in each of the past two seasons, some TV executives worry the NFL’s 7% drop at the halfway point of 2020 augurs a return to the 2016 and 2017 seasons — when average audiences fell 8% and 10%, respectively,” Front Office Sports wrote.

With politics still riling the nation, Week 8 still saw poor ratings. Thursday Night Football continued the weak ratings seen for nearly every other week this season. The game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Carolina Panthers earned only a paltry 8 million viewers.

The numbers show that ratings for every NFL Week thus far, but two have fallen over the league’s ratings for 2019. Of the two, one week was flat in viewership, and the other was slightly up.

According to the numbers: Week 1 earned 16.2 million viewers – down 8% from 17.6 million in 2019; Week 2 saw 14.8 million – down 5% from 15.5 million; Week 3 15.5 million – flat over 2019; Week 4 got 12.7 million – down 26% from 17.2 million; Week 5 saw 14.4 million – down 14% from 16.7 million; Week 6 earned 14.5 million – up 3.6% from 14 million; Week 7 had 14.7 million – down 6.4% from 15.7 million: and Week 8 earned 16.2 million – up 3% from 15.7 million.

TV execs are praying that the league’s ratings will begin to rise now that politics and other sports are out of the NFL’s way.

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