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NFL ratings recovering?

Discussion in 'Blinded by the Lombardis: Patriots Forum' started by maufman, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    Whether it’s the high-scoring games, the lack of political controversy, or the emergence of a few new stars, NFL ratings are up so far this season.

    https://www.wsj.com/articles/nfl-te...tILoAe9AfdmNhZ9&reflink=article_copyURL_share

    Yes, there’s obviously a depressed prior-year comp, but there isn’t much on TV that’s growing year on year these days.

    Are the NFL’s problems overstated?
     
  2. LesterFan

    LesterFan Member SoSH Member

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  3. cornwalls@6

    [email protected] Member SoSH Member

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    Yes, I think the NFL's problems have been very much over-stated in the last 2-3 years. It is still the most popular American spectator sport by a mile. They certainly have not been immune to the same sea changes of technology/increasingly fragmented culture that most other forms of entertainment have. But to put up the numbers they do in this era, even though they are reduced from 10-15 years ago, as are the numbers for most other forms of mass entertainment, speaks volumes to the huge, enduring popularity of pro football. And I say this as someone who, outside of the Patriots, feels his own personal interest in the NFL waning by the year, for a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with the quality of the on-field product. And their shameful handling of things like domestic violence, deflate-gate, and the anthem situation( though it seems like they may have course-corrected on that), are absolutely worthy of strong criticism. But tales of the leagues imminent demise always felt more like hyperbolic wish-casting, rather than an actual probability.
     
  4. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    NFL has also been fortunate that it seems that the stars have been relatively injury-free.

    From the near term, I think the NFL's problems are overstated but their audience while stable, seems to be growing older. That's probably a problem. As of 2017, only 9% of viewers of the NFL are under the age of 18. Note that baseball is in even worse shape, with median age being 57 and just 7% of viewers under the age of 18.

    This link - https://www.marketwatch.com/story/the-sports-with-the-oldest-and-youngest-tv-audiences-2017-06-30 - has more info on and a chart of median age of viewers for various sports.

    The following is not the same chart as in the above link but probably comes from the same data set. (Here's the source for the following chart).
    [​IMG]
     
  5. mostman

    mostman Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    That is an incredible chart. Every sport has an aging audience except for Soccer, maybe. Golf and NASCAR seem to be in some serious trouble.
     
  6. Mystic Merlin

    Mystic Merlin Member SoSH Member

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    Couldn’t that be due to the fact that more people are living longer and their sports viewing habits have at least remained stable (if not increased)?
     
  7. mostman

    mostman Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Wouldn't you expect it to be offset by the addition of younger viewers?
     
  8. wade boggs chicken dinner

    wade boggs chicken dinner Member SoSH Member

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    Yes but if kids aren't watching the main sports now, are they going to start turning into them when they are 30?
     
  9. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    Great chart.

    The median age of the U.S. population has increased by about 3 years since 2000. The age of the median TV watcher has almost certainly increased by more than that. So other than NASCAR, horse racing, and (surprisingly) the NHL, I’m not sure I’d say any of these leagues have a huge problem with graying demographics. Perhaps the NFL has a slightly larger issue than the others, as its games are less available in nontraditional channels (e.g., streaming) that I assume aren’t measured here.
     
  10. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

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    Maybe some viewers took a political stand last year then forgot about it or decided it wasn't a deal breaker after all. The ratings are good despite the Cowboys and Giants being bad which is actually a notable achievement. The Bears being good again helps.
     
  11. OilCanShotTupac

    OilCanShotTupac Sunny von Bulow Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    Horse racing is fixing to be taken out behind the barn and shot.
     
  12. FL4WL3SS

    FL4WL3SS Member SoSH Member

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    I'm going to hazard a guess that NFL ratings are going to be just fine with legalized sports gambling right around the corner.
     
  13. page 2 protege

    page 2 protege Well-Known Member Silver Supporter SoSH Member

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    the average time it takes for someone who is angry about a thing, to not be as angry anymore and then do that thing is about 6 months, we are a conviction-less society /actual research over generalized
     
  14. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    They aren't participating in sports either.
     
  15. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    The line that jumped out at me in that is MLB Regular Season - going from 52 to 57. 57 isn't that far behind the likes of NASCAR. Yes, the population has aged, and every sport has seen an increase, but a +5 shift for MLB from 2006-2016 is a lot even on a comparative basis. Here are the average differentials (ha!) from that by a sport's primary offering*, ranked descending:

    From most-aging to least-aging (2016 age minus 2006 age):
    NASCAR Monster (cup series) +9
    NHL Regular Season +7
    Horse Racing +7
    MLB Regular Season +5
    PGA Events +5
    Int'l / World Soccer +4
    NFL Regular Season +4
    NCAAF Regular Season +4
    NCAAB Tournament +3
    Olympics +3
    Boxing +2
    NBA Regular Season +2
    MLS Regular Season** +1

    Perhaps Mark Cuban's assertion that an NBA team is a superior investment to that of an MLB or NFL team had some sense, amid the self-serving bent.

    * Down-selected just to simplify the list. I chose the regular season for everything except NCAAB, where I assume the gross eyeballs / ad spend exceeds that of regular-season games and tournaments.
    ** What is plain ol "Soccer", though, once you exclude MLS and "International/World"? Surely not Liga MX or College.
     
  16. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Baseball is at least trying to combat the problem, though they haven't had much luck. "Let the kids play" is nice but when you couple it with announcers talking about unwritten rules... yeah.

    I'd also agree with Mark Cuban. The MLB doesn't really have a national audience and the NFL is US Centric, 2 problems the NBA doesn't have.
     
  17. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    Participation in youth sports is down somewhat, but it’s easy to overstate the trend. (There are fewer kids now than 10 years ago, so you have to look at the percentages rather than the raw numbers.)

    https://www.aspenprojectplay.org/kids-sports-participation-rates/
     
  18. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    The NBA lacks a national audience the same way MLB does, though. Its development teams are not free to compete for their own (second-tier) championships or otherwise give fans something to root for, much the same way as minor league baseball teams inspire very little for their fanbases. The league-pyramid format of global soccer gives it an ubiquity, embeds it so thoroughly into every town in Europe that few other sports have even made a dent. Among popular US sports, perhaps only the NHL and its fairly independent minors system most closely resembles some qualities of that. Unless you want to argue that NCAAF represents an independent minor league that undergirds the national popularity of the sport itself - but my impression is that people who are big fans of NCAAF or the NFL tend to have views of each that are very independent of each other, and may be far more passionate about one rather than the other.

    The NBA has taken its talents abroad much more successfully than other sports, and can continue to do so more easily than other sports (small rosters, smaller stadium requirements, no weather concerns, year-round ability to play, etc etc). So it definitely has that going for it. But no sport is going to dominate the second-, third- and fourth-tier cities like soccer in Europe / South America, until and unless they have a league system that can support meaningful competition for smaller, even semi-pro-level teams as part of a greater whole.

    (not that any of that speaks to a fanbase aging or lack thereof, but it does speak to the future of ratings)
     
  19. The Mort Report

    The Mort Report Member SoSH Member

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    Id imagine the problem with NASCAR, baseball and golf is there is really not much continuous action. You could sit in front of your tv for 4 hours and have nothing really happen. I use to watch like 140 of 162 Red Sox games a year all the way through 12 years ago, this year I didn't watch one single regular season game all the way through. Of the 10 I tried to watch I was over it by the 4th inning and was on to something else.

    What surprises me, and I'm very bias, is that hockey is up there
     
  20. OurF'ingCity

    OurF'ingCity Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah, baseball for me (and I would imagine NASCAR and/or golf for others) is a sport that I will often put on a second screen like iPad/phone/etc., or just follow on gameday. You can do that pretty easily without missing much action but that wouldn't be picked up in the TV ratings. So I would caution against reading these ages as a sign that fandom overall is getting older, as opposed to just the people who actually watch each sport live on TV.
     
  21. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    I just meant in the sense that a random person in America is more likely to watch a Jazz @ Suns game than they would Royals @ Twins. Baseball is far more regional.
     
  22. DourDoerr

    DourDoerr Well-Known Member Lifetime Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I'll second bosox - pretty much every NBA team has at least 1 interesting star. That Jazz/Suns game would feature Mitchell and Booker and you'd see them almost the entire game. Baseball teams have stars too, of course, but you might have to wait 30 minutes or so to see, say, Trout hit.
     
  23. tims4wins

    tims4wins PN23's replacement SoSH Member

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    Yeah same here, through 2007 I was watching a ton of full games, a decent amount in 2008 as well, then from there it slowly decline to where I seriously only watched like 15 minutes live of the division series (part of that is due to life circumstances, and another big part of that is stress). But that was unimaginable not that long ago.
     
  24. SMU_Sox

    SMU_Sox loves his fluffykins SoSH Member

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    Change 2007 to 2009 and 2008 to 2010 and that’s me too. Kids, two jobs, other hobbies, etc. I watched maybe two hours of the divisional series and all of that with my kids (who are not baseball fans). 2008 me would have told you I’d never miss Red Sox Yankees in the playoffs. 2018 me is overworked, over stressed, and the pace of the game just doesn’t do it for me anymore. I would rather spend three hours relaxing reading a book and checking out into that world than 3-4 hours of baseball.

    Quick edit: I also shifted almost 100% into football, college football, and trying to be 1/10th as good as our board experts on scouting. Football won over baseball.
     
  25. McBride11

    McBride11 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I skimmed the marketwatch article and the one it linked sourcing the data and I didn't really see an explanation for their methods gathering the data? Maybe I missed it.

    -Are these Nielsen families? Which would skew older I assume.
    -If a parent pays the cable TV sub that is tuned to ESPN for the MLB Sunday nite game, but his teenage kids 16 and 13 are watching also, do those kids get counted? or just the father at age 50x?
    -What about all the streams? Younger views are far more likely to try reddit streams as they can't afford cable / sports packages or have 'cut the cord.' Just look at the Pats game thread each week, seems a good number of avid viewers are following on streams.
    -What about people viewing at a bar / viewing party with friends which again I would assume skews younger. If some 28yo guy has 6 buddies over to watch his Sunday ticket do all 7 people get counted or just the 1 paying for the sub? Or what if they all go the bar all day Sunday to watch games.

    Not saying these trends aren't true but the data collection may have some inherent flaws and may be missing some sampling. Younger people also don't respond to polls etc.
     
  26. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    TV ratings endeavor to pick up everyone who is watching the program — families watching together, people watching at parties or in bars, etc. Obviously, no methodology is perfect, and it’s probably safe to say that the more unconventional your manner of watching, the more likely that they’ll fail to count you. But I’m not sure those patterns have changed markedly over the past 15 years, so that’s probably more relevant if you’re comparing the ratings for sporting events to ratings for scripted programs.

    I don’t think ratings even try to count how many people who watch streams, legally or otherwise. So since MLB has been ahead of the other leagues in terms of promoting streaming content, their demographics probably are a little bit younger than these numbers would suggest.
     
  27. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    I know a lot of people who watch streamed sports content thanks solely to their parents' cable TV login, as they have cut the cord. I was one of them for a while (until my parents cut the cord). So there's probably something to that, but it's still something you can measure with a good enough (labeled) sample size.
     
  28. McBride11

    McBride11 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    I would think viewing patterns have changed dramatically over the past 15 years? The older gen being measured hasn't but the younger sure has. As mentioned the cord cutters, the streams, the borrowed logins (InstaFace's anecdote). With a good enough sample size sure this can be overcome, but what is that sample size for people falling into these categories? These people get paid big money for what they do so I'm sure there is some validity but I bet the error bars on the 25-35yo male is far different than the 45-55yo male
     
  29. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    I was just saying that the number of people watching the broadcast at a bar or a friend’s house hasn’t changed much.

    Of course streaming is new in the past 10 years, but I suspect that’s a much smaller portion of the NFL audience than the MLB or NBA audiences, because the league relies so heavily on broadcast deals and hasn’t done much to exploit new media. I doubt people watching illegal streams on Reddit or whatever account for even 1% of the audience.
     
  30. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    This is new tech since we were a ratings family about 10 years ago — back then, the focus was on determining whether you were watching live TV or watching on DVR and skipping commercials. Even then, though, I carried a pager-like device in my pocket that could tell what I was watching based on sound. Assuming the tech hasn’t taken a step backward, I’m sure they’re picking up you watching a streaming version of a broadcast with a borrowed cable ID. If you’re watching something on a stream that’s not being broadcast in your area (e.g., an out-of-market game on MLB.tv or an illegal stream), they’re probably not capturing that.
     
  31. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    ...and furthermore, why would you agree to be on a panel if you were?
     
  32. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    Most NFL games can be picked up on TVs with antennas too so less reason to illegally stream it. Of course that probably doesn't show up in the data either.
     
  33. McBride11

    McBride11 Well-Known Member Gold Supporter SoSH Member

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    1% seems low for the young demo they are saying are disappearing.

    More than half of 'young people' (in this article 18-24) stream their sports illegally https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/apr/25/illegal-streams-live-sports-sports-industry-group

    The loss of viewers to alternative viewing methods is recognized and real https://www.si.com/nfl/2017/12/28/tv-ratings-cord-cutters-anthem-protests-redzone-streaming

    I'm an avid out of market Pats viewer with decent disposable income who is now in his 3rd city in 13 years. For about 12 years I wouldn't have been counted in any demo data until I got DTV last year. n of 1 and all but I'm not so sure you think it is as inconsequential as you make it out to be.
    Why is soccer trending younger? Well NBC has a wicked good streaming service for all their EPL. These people are being captured in data. Not the only reason but I'm sure it helps.
     
  34. Sox and Rocks

    Sox and Rocks Member SoSH Member

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    It hasn't already?
     
  35. InstaFace

    InstaFace MDLzera

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    Maybe this is a tangent, but: The war on people streaming from anywhere has always seemed bizarrely self defeating to me. These streamers are watching the ads that the broadcast network is putting in there (plus many more, awkwardly crammed into the page template by the people who run these sites). If you could measure them, the ratings boost would go straight to the broadcaster's to bottom line.

    Content is King. The distribution channels are paying to get this content. You couldn't take a little less, but get restrictions removed on cord-cutter streaming, and come out ahead financially?
     
  36. bosox79

    bosox79 Member SoSH Member

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    The commercials are blacked out and if you go full screen, you don't see any of the other ads. Basketball games stay during commercial break and show the dance team/cheerleaders. Maybe I'm missing your point when you say watching ads?
     
  37. maufman

    maufman Anderson Cooper x Mr. Rogers Staff Member Dope Gold Supporter

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    Much of the crazy increase in rights fees in recent years is driven by cable companies bidding on pro sports properties as loss leaders. TBS doesn’t make nearly enough in ad revenue to justify its NBA deal; same goes for NBCSN for the NHL and the Premier League, or ESPN’s various rights deals (especially Monday Night Football). Rather, these networks cut these deals so they can ensure they collect substantial per-subscriber fees from cable companies, which those companies gladly pay because live sports is the only thing that keeps a lot of people from cutting the cord. That business model falls apart if you allow people who don’t pay for cable to stream the games.
     
  38. Royal Reader

    Royal Reader Member SoSH Member

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    I've streamed a lot. Basketball streams off of league pass (which is most of reddit) stay in the arena for breaks in play as you say, but football streams definitely show commercials. I've seen more Cialis commercials than anyone would really want to. MLB it seems a growing number of streams are off at-bat without ads, but still not all.
     
  39. CoffeeNerdness

    CoffeeNerdness Member SoSH Member

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    Depends on the source. Official streams and rebroadcasts of those official streams don't have ads. Many of the streams on Reddit are network/cable re-streams which have ads.
     
  40. Royal Reader

    Royal Reader Member SoSH Member

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    Yeah. There are a lot more official streams around these days, though.
     
  41. gtmtnbiker

    gtmtnbiker Member SoSH Member

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    The only time I see the ads on the page is when I'm initially loading the stream before I make the stream player full stream. I can't imagine that they're getting much revenue.

    On a separate topic, it's really annoying that I pay for MLB.TV and have NESN on a couple of my TVs but I have to resort to illegal means to stream MLB because I'm in the Red Sox viewing area.
     
  42. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

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    Good ratings for the Pats game.

    https://tvbythenumbers.zap2it.com/weekly-ratings/broadcast-top-25-network-rankings-oct-8-14-2018/
     
  43. BigSoxFan

    BigSoxFan Member SoSH Member

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  44. ifmanis5

    ifmanis5 Member SoSH Member

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