NFL commissioner Roger Goodell insists rating drops registered by Nielsen this season don’t tell the whole story regarding viewership of the sport.
“We always want ratings to go up, but we’re 37 of the top 50 shows, which is higher than ever,” Goodell told reporters before the Jacksonville Jaguars’ playoff game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. “We’re likely to be the No. 1 show on Fox — excuse me, on all of television, the Fox Sunday afternoon game. Sunday night, prime time is for the seventh year in a row the No. 1 show. Thursday Night Football is No. 2.
“I think dominance of the NFL in television is still very clear.”
According to Nielsen, NFL television ratings fell 9.7 percent during the 2017 regular season. Ratings had already fallen 8 percent during the 2016 season. Per the Nielsen numbers, a typical game was watched by 1.6 million fewer people in 2017 than in 2016.
However, the Nielsen numbers also show that 20 of the 30 highest-rated shows on television in 2017 were football games.
The ratings drop comes during a year in which the NFL was criticized by President Donald Trump on social media numerous times for allowing players to protest during the national anthem.
Critics also allege that Thursday night games have diluted the product. This season, Thursday night games were broadcast on the NFL Network, CBS, NBC and Amazon Prime. –REUTERS