Those working in the television industry cannot argue that the NFL provides the most dependable programming on television to date. However, the current decline in ratings, especially primetime ratings, has network executives worried. With NFL game viewership being 2.5 times bigger than broadcast prime-time viewership one might argue that this issue is one that could impact the future of how we watch the game. The demographic of 18-34 year olds (that’s ME!) is one of heavy decline. As a member of this demographic, I can tell you that this statistic is an accurate representation.
The world wide web offers so many opportunities to view condensed versions of the games we love. We follow teams, players, journalists and specialist of our sports news rather than live sporting events. I think it has a lot to do with the credibility that can be found through a player or coach’s personal social media page. For example, when following a player who is a free agent, he might use social media as a way in which to market himself. He will clear up rumors personally, and even respond directly to fans and other players in the league. It’s difficult to get these guys in a room together to have these intimate conversations in person, so social media becomes the grand stage for hashing things out, or just plain old expression. This is so much more valuable that watching a game on television. And who loves to be on social media more than the 18-35 years olds? Instead of sinking down into the couch to watch a lineup of up to 18 games in a weekend, I would rather be out enjoying the weekend with friends and family while occasionally checking my news feed for updates, locker-room interviews and highlights.
Reducing the number of games broadcasted can allow for the issue of oversaturation to become much more manageable. This dramatic rise in football activity in attributed by the need to build revenue through naming rights deals- or at least that is my theory on the matter. Just as less folks are watching NFL sports live in the stadium, less are queuing up their television to watch it to home. However, one thing still remains true, and that is that football is king when it comes to viewership. Ratings will always be at higher than primetime viewership, even with the current drop.
One unique point to note is that Monday night football has seen a 6 percent increase in ratings from the previous year. I have to say that I do enjoy spending a Monday evening watching the game vs a Sunday or Thursday.