Turns out that the National Football League is actually quite popular with television-watching humans across America. There's been a "ratings crisis" for more than two months in 2016, and people like to watch the world burn, so everyone's tried to figure out why the numbers are down.
Many people pointed to the election as a reason, while just as many said the election couldn't be responsible. Maybe it was, because in the first NFL week after the election was held, ratings were through the roof.
Sunday night's Patriots-Seahawks matchup was a monster, according to NBC's PR team.
NBC's 14.3/23 overnight for Seahawks-Pats best Week 10 SNF game in 5 years (NE-NYJ, 14.5/23 in '11) & up 13% from '15 (12.6/21 for AZ-Sea)— NBC Sports PR (@NBCSportsPR) November 14, 2016
Up 15 percent from a Cardinals-Seahawks game last year? That was the infamous Drew Stanton Dance game, and it was an absolute shootout, with Arizona beating Seattle 39-32 at CenturyLink Field. It was a fantastic game. The Pats are a big draw and so is Seattle, but the numbers bear out people were flocking to football a week after the election.
And according to Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal, the incredible afternoon battle between the Steelers-Cowboys game crushed it as well. Shocker given those fan bases.
Fox' 17.8 overnight rating for NFL nat'l window featuring Cowboys-Steelers is NFL's best figure for a game window this season to date— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) November 14, 2016
It would be plausible to dismiss the bump in ratings because of there simply being a bunch of good football on television.
Both the games above were highly compelling and featured four of the five most popular teams in all of football (maybe the Packers join them?). Barring a blowout, the numbers were going to be good.
Michael Mulvihill of Fox Sports has an interesting comp when it comes to football and cable news, however. Turns out there was a huge drop in cable news ratings with the election in the rearview mirror, as opposed to 48 hours on the horizon like last week.
Cable news yesterday vs last Sun prior to election:— Michael Mulvihill (@mulvihill79) November 14, 2016
- Down -32% vs afternoon NFL
- Down -44% vs primetime NFL
In recent comments about potentially making changes to the game to help ratings, NFL VP Brian Rolapp consistently mentioned that the election was an issue for the league and has been in most previous election cycles.
Maybe he was right after all. The sky might not be falling on the NFL and we could see good ratings down the stretch in what is becoming a very compelling playoff race.
Football can go back to being great again.