Sunday Night Football Ratings Down

Holly Kellum
By Holly Kellum
October 2, 2017Sports News
Sunday Night Football Ratings Down
Defensive end Frank Clark No. 55 of the Seattle Seahawks tackles Jacoby Brissett No. 7 of the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 1, 2017, in Seattle, Wash. (Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Ratings for NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” continue to go down, despite the show being the highest rated of all the prime broadcast network TV shows in the United States, according to consumer research company Nielsen.

Ratings for the show are down by 5 percent from last week when the Washington Redskins beat the Oakland Raiders 27-10, Deadline reported.

NTD Photo
Quarterback Russell Wilson No. 3 of the Seattle Seahawks breaks free to rush for 23 yards for a touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter of the game at CenturyLink Field on Oct. 1, 2017, in Seattle, Wash. (Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

The Redskins versus Raiders game, aired on NBC, also saw an 8 percent decline from the early numbers of the previous week’s game on Sept. 17, in which the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers in a 34-23 win. That could be in part because the game and the Emmys, which saw an all-time low in metered market ratings, both took place on the same night.

This Sunday’s game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Indiana Colts was also down 2 percent compared to the lowest point last year (Oct. 2 when the Pittsburgh Steelers’ beat the Kansas City Chiefs 43-14), according to preliminary figures, Deadline reported.

While ratings for NFL games have been steadily declining, continuing protests by players could also be playing a part.

Last week, over 200 NFL players held some form or protest during the national anthem, a trend started in 2016 by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who initially sat during the national anthem to protest the oppression of minorities and police brutality.

President Donald Trump has weighed in on the protests, calling them unpatriotic and saying that players who protest during the national anthem should be fired or suspended.

He also predicted ratings for the NFL would decline even faster if the protests continued.

Fox has said it will stop airing the national anthem live, citing its “commercial format,” and said it wasn’t customary to show the anthem before the game anyway.

“The standard procedure is not to show them because of the way the commercial format works and the timing of the anthem to get to the kickoff,” head of Fox Sports, Eric Shanks, told Sports Illustrated.

A Fox Sports spokesman said, however, “Our cameras are always rolling and we will document the response of players and coaches on the field.”

Not showing the anthem live could also be a strategy to retain viewership. Fans upset about the protests have threatened to stop watching the games or buying sports teams’ merchandise if the protests continue.

Fox has also seen a dip in its NFL ratings, but Shanks said he is still optimistic October would pull them out of the slump.

“We always knew that when we get into October it was the strength of our season,” he told Sports Illustrated. “We still have five doubleheader Cowboys games left including Dallas-Green Bay and Dallas-Washington and Seattle-Dallas. We always knew our schedule was stacked at a certain part of the season. I think we’re optimistic knowing that and seeing the progress that the league is making.”

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