Last week, somewhat expected news dropped when it was revealed that NFL ratings for this past season were down 9.7 percent from the year before. And though that drop was not quite the death knell for the league that so many people are so clearly rooting for, we doubt that NFL HQ threw a big party whenever they learned about it.
Still, if there is panic setting in amongst the league's brass, commissioner Roger Goodell wasn't showing it when he spoke to reporters on Sunday. In fact, Goodell touted the part of that ratings report that sounded like good news for the league, namely that they're still trouncing almost all of the competition.
"We always want ratings to go up, but we're 37 of the top 50 shows, which is higher than ever," he said, prior to the Jaguars-Bills playoff game. "We're likely to be the No. 1 show on Fox -- excuse me on all of television, the Fox Sunday afternoon game. Sunday night, prime time is for the seventh year in a row the No. 1 show. Thursday night football is No. 2. I think dominance of the NFL in television is still very clear."
As pointed out by ESPN, that Nielsen data also stated 20 of the top 30 most watched TV programs in 2017 were NFL games. Additionally Sunday Night and Monday Night Football were still the top shows for every single week in "all key male demographics." So, like we said somewhere above, it's not a death knell. It's just that you can only suffer an annual loss of 9.7 percent of your audience for so long.
During his talk with reporters, Goodell also touted the league's streaming partnership with both Verizon and Amazon. "We always want to figure out how to expand our audiences, and that's why we're doing things with Verizon, we're doing things ... with Amazon," he said. "Those types of things are how we're reaching more consumers and that's a transition and that's something that we're putting a lot of focus on."