Not only did the NFL not get the ratings boost they were looking for in 2020, but their ratings actually crashed by seven percent.
According to Sports Media Watch, the NFL has lost an average of one million viewers since 2019.
The site noted that the league “averaged 15.4 million viewers, excluding make-up games — down 7% from last year (16.5M), down 2% from the 2018 season (15.8M) and the league’s smallest audience since 2017 (15.0M). According to The Hollywood Reporter, the league averaged 14.9 million with makeup games included.”
Fox had the highest viewership for 2020, but its two highest games were still down six and five percent from last year, the site reported. Fox finished the season with the best Week 17 audience of the rest, up to ten percent with 23.2 million viewers.
CBS came in second with an average of 16.5 million viewers, down four percent from 2019, and the lowest since 2017 (15.7 million).
But NBC’s Sunday Night Football suffered its least-watched season since 2008 averaging 16.8 million, down 16% from 2019. Indeed, its last game, the Washington Football Team vs. Philadelphia Eagles, were down 28 percent over 2019.
Of course, much of the ratings woes can be traced to the league’s embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for not listening to original anthem protester Colin Kaepernick, and others when players knelt in protest during the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He also, at the request of several star players, released a video in which he said, Black Lives Matter.
The NFL lost the least amount of viewers of any pro sport in this coronavirus shattered year. The U.S. Open lost 56 percent of its viewers over 2019. The NBA suffered greatly, as well. The NBA finals were down 49 percent over last year. Tennis’ Open also cratered, losing 45 percent over 2019’s games. But the worst of all was the NHL’s Stanley Cup. Hockey’s big game lost a whopping sixty percent over the 2019 championship series.
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