Do you think that new Nike ad campaign played any part in this?
If the NFL was hoping fans had made their point and were ready to forgive and forget, opening night was NOT a good sign.
Those TV ratings just got even lower.
In the Opening night matchup where the Eagles hosted the Falcons, the final score wasn’t the big story of the night… it was overshadowed by the ratings disaster.
Ratings weren’t even saved by having BoyzIIMen performing the anthem:
We need @BoyzIIMen to perform the National Anthem every game
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) September 7, 2018
One player — Eagles’ Michael Bennett sat on the bench to protest the anthem. The others all stood.
The game itself was lackluster… fans were booing the home team. The final score was 18-12, and there was a highlight-reel play.
IT HAPPENED AGAIN 😲😲😲@Eagles bring out the PHILLY SPECIAL for the opening game 🙌
THE PHILLY SPECIAL 2.0 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/ViJZAqXp0x
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) September 7, 2018
But nobody cared.
With a 13.4/5 in the metered markets, the post-midnight ending game is down 8% from last year’s kickoff of September 7, 2017. In one of the lowest season openers ratingswise and facing portions of a cable news-covered rally by a very NFL critical President Donald Trump, last night’s game is not only down from last year, but 2016, 2015 and 2014 – all of which saw successive declines.
To add more injury to that, the 2017 8:42 PM ET-starting season opener between the victorious Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots ended up with a weak 7.7/29 rating among adults 18-49 and 21.8 million viewers. That was a double digit decline from 2016 and the worst total audience an opening game had since 2009.
The ratings are continuing to crater.
At some point, this will hit their bottom line enough that player contracts will start shrinking.
Maybe then players will start to think about the connection between their behavior and fan support. But by then will it be too late?