With the various controversies surrounding the NFL, it appeared as though everyone knew why the the league's television ratings were dropping. A large portion of fans has insisted that the NFL's numbers have dropped this season due to the numerous National Anthem protests by players.
Surprise! That has proven not to be the case. At the very least, not entirely.
There has been a 5.5 percent drop in viewership through the first nine weeks of this season compared to last year, but the reasons go beyond anthem protests.
In fact, live television viewership is down across the board.
JUST IN:— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) November 8, 2017
NFL ratings through nine weeks is down 5.5% versus first 9 weeks of last year.
Perspective: Drop is in line with the rest of television.
There you have it. The anthem protests are not the sole culprit for the drop in viewership; changes in media consumption are playing an ever-increasing role.
With streaming services thriving, fewer consumers are paying for cable and satellite television at all anymore. They don't have to. As the numbers indicate, traditional live television consumption itself is less and less popular, particularly among the younger demographics. And things aren't going to get better for cable and broadcast networks.
If the league itself can't adjust to a changing climate, they'll find themselves in trouble, too.
With ratings down 5.5% for the year and no post-election bounce coming, the ratings drop could soon get worse https://t.co/fdrKNJEx9I— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) November 9, 2017
With DirecTV's NFL Sunday Ticket and select Thursday Night Football games now available to stream, the league is certainly aware of changes in the media paradigm. Expect this branching-out process to continue over the upcoming years in order to keep up with changing times.
All told, streaming is where it's at. Consumer demand proves it.
Advertisers are clearly still scrambling to get caught up, though.