NFL's Declining Viewership: One Slice at a Time

slowstrung

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Why not let them give the middle finger or drop their pants?
Dropping pants in public would violate laws that aren't related to NFL rules. Otherwise, who cares if they give each other a hard time verbally? Makes for more entertainment when the home crowd can relish their player doing it, or add to the villain narrative when the opponent does it.
 

joe dokes

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Dropping pants in public would violate laws that aren't related to NFL rules. Otherwise, who cares if they give each other a hard time verbally? Makes for more entertainment when the home crowd can relish their player doing it, or add to the villain narrative when the opponent does it.
"We're gonna score more times than that time the basketball team was with your sister!!!!" Very entertaining.
 

teddywingman

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NFL football is a giant commercial, and it only seems to get worse with all the play stoppages. (Is that a word?)

I still love the Pats and I watch, but the rest of the games are like an amusement park where all the rides have ridiculously long lines.
 

cornwalls@6

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Link below to pro football reference historical schedules page. Very cursory look at sat. Games between 2000-2010 didn't reveal an inordinate amount of NYG or NYJ games, of course LA was without a team by then, so probably better to scour the 90's as well for a more complete picture of the schedule being set up to accommodate those markets. There do seem to be plenty of pedestrian looking matchups. My warm memories of those games may have more to do with simply having any NFL game on to distract me from the inevitable, dreadful, work Christmas parties I usually attended on the Saturday before back in those days. One interesting quirk I had long forgotten: The Pats ended the 2003 season with back to back Saturday games: the infamous Namath/Suzy Kolber game @ the Jets. Followed the by the reverese 31-0 payback game of opening day vs. Buffalo.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2003/games.htm
 

Marciano490

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Football is a terrible sport, for a lot of different reasons. I have been addicted to the NFL for 40-something years, and I can't quit watching it, even though I know it's bad. I have cut down a lot though. I used to get Sunday Ticket, but I stopped that a few years ago. I also used to pay for the online video of games after they ended, whatever that's called, but I don't do that anymore either. I won't be giving anymore money to the NFL.

Like I said, I still watch and follow it though, mostly for social reasons and addiction reasons. I wish I could totally boycott it but I can't. Watching the NFL makes you a worse person, but luckily watching baseball will mostly cancel that out.

If they want to try to fix the ratings, they could shorten the play clock to make teams run more plays quicker, and spend less time in huddles and less time waiting for subs to hurry in and out. That would greatly improve the pace of play, which needs fixing badly. Coaches would hate it, because they are now totally dependent on shuttling 4 or 5 different players in and out on every single play, but all that substitution doesn't do anything to make the game more enjoyable to watch.

Of course they need to have fewer and shorter commercial breaks but I can't see the greedheads of the NFL doing anything meaningful about that. Someone mentioned soccer, the main reason watching soccer is so much better than watching the NFL is that there are virtually no commercials interrupting the play when you are watching a soccer game. Lots of commercials before the game, at halftime and after it's over, but no sitting around in the middle of the game for 3 or 4 minutes of commercials.

Obviously the catch rule needs to be fixed. What kind of league can't tell you what a catch is in one simple sentence? It goes beyond that, though. The rules are too complicated, nitpicky and there are way too many of them. They need to throw out about half of the rulebook. That is another thing that won't happen though. The league is all about nitpicky rules, so if anything they will probably add even more 'gray area" rules and make more of a mess of things.

Like offensive holding: everyone knows that holding happens on every single play. But it is only called once in a while, basically at the random whims of the ref. The same hold will be ignored on one play that goes for a touchdown, but then the next time it will get a flag, wiping out the other team's big play. It's ridiculous. They probably should just make offensive holding legal and be done with it. That would at least be more fair and consistent than any ref could make it. Give the defense a corresponding break, like making pass interference 15 yards or something. The point is they need to cut back on rules and make the refs much less impactful in the game, and also reduce all the flags flying after every play.

There are many reasons for the drop in ratings, not just one or two. And I actually hope the NFL's ratings decline continues and even steepens. That would be better for me personally and for American culture, and it would be the only way that any changes would come that would make the game better. It probably won't happen, though. There's lots of dumb people out there and the NFL is made for them, so they'll probably come back.
The play clock idea is interesting, but I wonder how practical it is given the size of some of the players nowadays. I know Chip Kelly tried it in Philly, to less than exemplary success. Maybe it would have long term benefits in that it would force players to tip more towards conditioning than size, which would be healthier overall, but if you have a 20 second play clock, you're going to end up seeing a lot sloppier line play and I'm guessing a bunch more penalties.
 

loshjott

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I've watched my share of sports this way, but I'm pretty sure that if the game was available for free over the air I certainly wouldn't watch via illegal stream. Why would I? And enough people are doing this to drive those numbers down?
Cord cutters. I have 2 sons in college and neither has easy access to a TV with the full complement of cable offerings, etc. Both watch sports and other shows on their computers either through my FIOS password or illegally.
 

tims4wins

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Honestly, I don't remember the Saturday games being any better than the Thursday games -- usually, it was an average matchup between two teams I didn't care about. I guess there might have been a bit of anticipation, like "oooh, in a few weeks we'll be watching good football on Saturdays," but the games themselves weren't appointment viewing.
I think it was more about this was at a time before weekly TNF, so adding 1-2 Saturday games 1-2 weeks a year was "great, more football!" And unfortunately the NFL saw all this love for football and kept putting more and more of it on TV to the point of over-saturation. When there is are 4 national games a week (TNF, Sunday 4pm, SNF, MNF), and teams have limits on number of night games, and everyone has to play on TNF... you end up with some shitty product in national games, hence the ratings drop.
 

joe dokes

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Link below to pro football reference historical schedules page. Very cursory look at sat. Games between 2000-2010 didn't reveal an inordinate amount of NYG or NYJ games, of course LA was without a team by then, so probably better to scour the 90's as well for a more complete picture of the schedule being set up to accommodate those markets. There do seem to be plenty of pedestrian looking matchups. My warm memories of those games may have more to do with simply having any NFL game on to distract me from the inevitable, dreadful, work Christmas parties I usually attended on the Saturday before back in those days. One interesting quirk I had long forgotten: The Pats ended the 2003 season with back to back Saturday games: the infamous Namath/Suzy Kolber game @ the Jets. Followed the by the reverese 31-0 payback game of opening day vs. Buffalo.

http://www.pro-football-reference.com/years/2003/games.htm

I think the two-team market thing still holds, with Oakland and SF.

looking at one of the '03 saturdays, NYJ on one saturday, SF on the other ( takes care of OAK-SF market for Sunday.)
'04. NYG, SF and Oakland (different weeks for SF and OAK).
'05 has NYG twice
'06 has OAK once NYG once
'07 has SF and NYG

so that's one NY team on at least 1 saturday each year.
and then I stopped.
 

joe dokes

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Cord cutters. I have 2 sons in college and neither has easy access to a TV with the full complement of cable offerings, etc. Both watch sports and other shows on their computers either through my FIOS password or illegally.
My daughter's boyfriend was stunned when I told him you dont need cable to watch most football on sunday if you;re within 25-50 miles of most medium to large cities with TV stations. Just a 20$ antenna from radio shack. OTA is just not part of the lexicon of today's 21 year old.
 

cornwalls@6

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My daughter's boyfriend was stunned when I told him you dont need cable to watch most football on sunday if you;re within 25-50 miles of most medium to large cities with TV stations. Just a 20$ antenna from radio shack. OTA is just not part of the lexicon of today's 21 year old.
Probably stunned that there's a thing he can plug into a wall in his house, with a much bigger screen than his phone, that he can watch things on. Only half-kidding.
 

joe dokes

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Probably stunned that there's a thing he can plug into a wall in his house, with a much bigger screen than his phone, that he can watch things on. Only half-kidding.
You're not far off. They had the $75 craigslist TV. They used it as a monitor to watch the stuff they accessed on their phones and laptops. But literally no idea that a line from the wall (and a box in most places) and "paying for cable" wasn't the minimum requirement to watch television.
 

OCST

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My daughter's boyfriend was stunned when I told him you dont need cable to watch most football on sunday if you;re within 25-50 miles of most medium to large cities with TV stations. Just a 20$ antenna from radio shack. OTA is just not part of the lexicon of today's 21 year old.
I work often on Sundays and I have a TV in my office that I use as a second monitor. No cable. I tried this with a nice antenna to watch MFL games, and unfortunately the window in my office on the 6th floor of my building in lower Manhattan faces south, and the stations all have their antennas to the north (CBS has it on the ESB). The signals won't penetrate the office building.

I read up on this and there are situations where antennas don't work that well - buildings like mine, mountain or valley situations, etc. - so it's not a gimme. Otherwise I'd love to do it.
 

joe dokes

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I work often on Sundays and I have a TV in my office that I use as a second monitor. No cable. I tried this with a nice antenna to watch MFL games, and unfortunately the window in my office on the 6th floor of my building in lower Manhattan faces south, and the stations all have their antennas to the north (CBS has it on the ESB). The signals won't penetrate the office building.

I read up on this and there are situations where antennas don't work that well - buildings like mine, mountain or valley situations, etc. - so it's not a gimme. Otherwise I'd love to do it.

OTA antennas, even analog, were notoriously fickle in Manhattan. Signals just bounce off buildings. In the old days, that would lead to snow (static) and ghosting (multiple images). But at least you could see something (or with sports, hear it). With digital, either you get a picture or you don't.

I think that's one of the reasons that Manhattan had cable tv relatively early, in the 60s.
 

Harry Hooper

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My daughter's boyfriend was stunned when I told him you dont need cable to watch most football on sunday if you;re within 25-50 miles of most medium to large cities with TV stations. Just a 20$ antenna from radio shack. OTA is just not part of the lexicon of today's 21 year old.

What is the "radio shack" that you speak of?



I work often on Sundays and I have a TV in my office that I use as a second monitor. No cable. I tried this with a nice antenna to watch MFL games, and unfortunately the window in my office on the 6th floor of my building in lower Manhattan faces south, and the stations all have their antennas to the north (CBS has it on the ESB). The signals won't penetrate the office building.
How tall is the building? Can you get on the roof? Maybe put a digital OTA antenna on the roof and drop a long coax cable down to your window just on gamedays. You need to be able to open your window, however.
 
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SumnerH

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My daughter's boyfriend was stunned when I told him you dont need cable to watch most football on sunday if you;re within 25-50 miles of most medium to large cities with TV stations. Just a 20$ antenna from radio shack. OTA is just not part of the lexicon of today's 21 year old.
This requires have something like a traditional TV that has a tuner in it, which is no longer a given these days (or buying an external tuner).
 

joe dokes

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This requires have something like a traditional TV that has a tuner in it, which is no longer a given these days (or buying an external tuner).
Really? I didn't know that. The last TV I bought was about a year and a half ago, and still had the "TV" input and the "scan for channels" option. (Fortunately, the kids on craigslist aren't buying new.)
 

mauf

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Really? I didn't know that. The last TV I bought was about a year and a half ago, and still had the "TV" input and the "scan for channels" option. (Fortunately, the kids on craigslist aren't buying new.)
I think he's saying that a lot of the youngsters don't own a TV, but watch video on a laptop, tablet or other screen.
 

joe dokes

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I think he's saying that a lot of the youngsters don't own a TV, but watch video on a laptop, tablet or other screen.
You're right. I mis-read the phrase "traditional TV that has a tuner in it."



Can we get back to the topic of the thread?
It got a bit wonky, but how TVs work in 2016, and how cordcutters between 20 and 30 *think* TVs work *may* play a role in viewership numbers.
 

Captaincoop

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Cord cutters. I have 2 sons in college and neither has easy access to a TV with the full complement of cable offerings, etc. Both watch sports and other shows on their computers either through my FIOS password or illegally.
That sounds like it makes sense, but the data don't support it. We don't see a similar drop in NBA and MLB ratings. And it also doesn't fit with the one-year dropoff from 2015 to 2016, which is marked. Cord-cutting didn't start this summer, and it should impact other sports.
 

Ralphwiggum

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Dropping pants in public would violate laws that aren't related to NFL rules. Otherwise, who cares if they give each other a hard time verbally? Makes for more entertainment when the home crowd can relish their player doing it, or add to the villain narrative when the opponent does it.
Two reasons:

1. I think watching players display emotion after a good play is fun. Taunting goes over the line into poor sportsmanship. I draw a line between celebrating your own success and being a poor winner, but YMMV.

2. Taunting is more likely to escalate into fighting and other stuff (cheap shots and the like) that is just bad for the game.
 

slowstrung

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Two reasons:

1. I think watching players display emotion after a good play is fun. Taunting goes over the line into poor sportsmanship. I draw a line between celebrating your own success and being a poor winner, but YMMV.

2. Taunting is more likely to escalate into fighting and other stuff (cheap shots and the like) that is just bad for the game.
Thanks for the response. Clearly I'm quite alone in my view of taunting, so I won't post about it again after this, but:

1. With what these guys do to each other (and themselves) physically that we're okay with, who the fuck cares what they do verbally?

2. This isn't exactly Othello or King Lear. If the low brow things they may say get themselves and the fans who can hear it more into the game, who
are we to judge or worry about it. Some people will surely be offended by what they might say, but isn't that trivial compared to CTE, which the viewing audience knows full well is happening in real time?

3. Speed of the game is clearly one of the issues most common in complaints and reduction of viewing. Taunting is one of a few cases where the penalty stoppage has no effect on the on-field play. So even if the reduction in dead time is marginal, why not apply it there first?
 

dbn

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Just this one man's opinion, but taunting should be constrained to fake sports like professional wresting and politics.
 

Harry Hooper

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An interesting reader comment about HDTV over at WaPo:

North Coast Centrist
2:44 PM EST
Here's what I believe is one more reason why the TV audience is dropping. Nothing looks better on your new HDTV than NFL football. Nothing. My own viewing increased markedly when I bought my first HDTV. But it's 10 years later, and I along with what i believe was an inflated audience are no longer "wowed" by the images.

If your team is losing, you're not watching. And even if your team is having a good year, you can record the game and enjoy the weather outside. If it's a good game, you can fast forward through the commercials and delays and watch the whole thing in about 75 minutes.
 

johnmd20

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An interesting reader comment about HDTV over at WaPo:
The same could be said about basketball and baseball, too. And they are both doing well, relative to a few years ago. The NFL is in a perfect storm of bad news. There are horrible headlines, horrendous management, especially during crises, extremely poor long term decisions, an idiot commissioner who keeps defecating on himself, and it's a sport where players are bashing each other to brain disease.

All the debts are due. And they are staring to be paid.
 

johnmd20

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So it stands to reason that offering more games a season has watered down the overall ratings. Adding a Thursday night game was a really bad decision by the NFL, made worse by the fact that the games are atrocious, which weakens the power of all the primetime games.
 

uncannymanny

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That sounds like it makes sense, but the data don't support it. We don't see a similar drop in NBA and MLB ratings. And it also doesn't fit with the one-year dropoff from 2015 to 2016, which is marked. Cord-cutting didn't start this summer, and it should impact other sports.
You mean the two leagues that have the best quality and very reasonably priced "see every game" digital services that don't require cable?

I think it's pretty simple: through a confluence of factors (that have all been said and will never be quantified into percentage points), the NFL has passed the point where the fans need the NFL more than the NFL needs the fans.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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I think the way that today's games are produced for TV makes for a dissatisfying viewing experience. It's not just the number of commercials that stink, it's the way they take away from the big moments in the game. One game I was watching this weekend had a big fourth quarter play that essentially clinched the game for the home team and they almost immediately cut to commercial after the play had ended. They didn't pan over the crowd going nuts, they barely showed the players getting hype, they didn't show a replay or offer any analysis of the play. The just abruptly cut to commercial. This type of production actively takes away from the sport they're trying to showcase. Baseball doesn't cut to a commercial after a grand slam. Soccer doesn't cut to commercial after a nice goal. As the TV viewer you get to soak those moments in and really enjoy the sport. Not in football though.
 

Captaincoop

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You mean the two leagues that have the best quality and very reasonably priced "see every game" digital services that don't require cable?

I think it's pretty simple: through a confluence of factors (that have all been said and will never be quantified into percentage points), the NFL has passed the point where the fans need the NFL more than the NFL needs the fans.
What am I missing here? Viewers on League Pass and MLB TV are not part of their TV ratings, which still haven't dropped like the NFL's have.
 

EricFeczko

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What am I missing here? Viewers on League Pass and MLB TV are not part of their TV ratings, which still haven't dropped like the NFL's have.
You are also missing the fact that "national" games (e.g. S/M/TNF) dropped by 20-25 percent while regional NFL games dropped less than 10 percent.

I'm not sure sure that fact supports the "cord-cutting" thesis though. If anything, that fact contradicts the thesis.
 

bigq

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It is interesting that after a prolonged period of climbing ratings, this is the season when that trend changes. Many here have pointed out the various reasons for this however I wonder when this starts to negatively impact the NFL's revenue.
 

EricFeczko

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It is interesting that after a prolonged period of climbing ratings, this is the season when that trend changes. Many here have pointed out the various reasons for this however I wonder when this starts to negatively impact the NFL's revenue.
Good point. It would be interesting to discuss what factors are prompting the trend now, out of all other years. Rule changes don't seem to fully explain it given that the bigger changes occurred in years prior to this one. Violent scandals seems a little unlikely to me, because we've had violent offenders in the NFL for decades. I guess one could argue that the visceral aspects of the current scandals may drive viewership down now. Obviously concussions play a role as well, and people forget the fact that the product appears to be much weaker than in years past.

The thing is none of these issues are mutually exclusive. In fact, one common thread through most of these issues is the incompetency of the NFL organization, the owners, and RG. Perhaps having a cash cow enabled complacency which promoted the incompetency. Now, the league is too feebleminded to address the above issues effectively.

My guess is that the revenue problems will lag the viewership issues by a few years. Right now the viewership is dropping from a peak, not falling off a cliff.

Yet.
 

jon abbey

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I think the way that today's games are produced for TV makes for a dissatisfying viewing experience. It's not just the number of commercials that stink, it's the way they take away from the big moments in the game. One game I was watching this weekend had a big fourth quarter play that essentially clinched the game for the home team and they almost immediately cut to commercial after the play had ended. They didn't pan over the crowd going nuts, they barely showed the players getting hype, they didn't show a replay or offer any analysis of the play. The just abruptly cut to commercial. This type of production actively takes away from the sport they're trying to showcase. Baseball doesn't cut to a commercial after a grand slam. Soccer doesn't cut to commercial after a nice goal. As the TV viewer you get to soak those moments in and really enjoy the sport. Not in football though.
Dunno, tonight they switched cameras badly in the middle of a close play at the plate and basically missed the go-ahead run in game 7 of the World Series.

And basketball has had a ridiculous thing for years now where many directors cut away in the middle of breakaway dunks, at the worst possible time, so it's definitely not just football.
 

Spelunker

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You are also missing the fact that "national" games (e.g. S/M/TNF) dropped by 20-25 percent while regional NFL games dropped less than 10 percent.

I'm not sure sure that fact supports the "cord-cutting" thesis though. If anything, that fact contradicts the thesis.
I don't think cord cutting is the issue. I don't think there is *an* issue: it's a multi-factorial problem, with lots of variables, lots of which don't seem to favor the NFL.

That the percentage of cable households is shrinking each year certainly doesn't help them though.
 

EricFeczko

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I don't think cord cutting is the issue. I don't think there is *an* issue: it's a multi-factorial problem, with lots of variables, lots of which don't seem to favor the NFL.

That the percentage of cable households is shrinking each year certainly doesn't help them though.
Well sure. The problem with the hypothesis is its lack of specificity, not its validity. Cord cutting is problematic across the board.

In any case, I'm not sure NFL revenue is directly affected by the viewership drop. To me, the unbalanced drop in viewership suggests that the national appeal of the NFL is dropping, not regional. I suspect this (if not just a fluke) will become an issue when negotiating national broadcasting rights, or selling national products like NFL Red Zone.
 

Devizier

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The decisions that drive NFL ownership and NBA/MLB ownership can't really be compared directly.

For one, the NFL has been high on the hog for quite some time; revenue and daytime game ratings had been increasingly steadily for years. That gives you a lot of room for mismanagement, since there were no immediate consequences for bad decisions.

On the other hand, MLB and the NBA have seen plenty of boom-bust cycles over the past few decades, and both peaked domestically about twenty years ago. They had to be innovative to continue prospering.
 
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mauf

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On the other hand, MLB and the NBA have seen plenty of boom-bust cycles over the past few decades, and both peaked domestically about twenty years ago. They had to be innovative to continue prospering.
By what measure did MLB and the NBA peak 20 years ago? I think you're assuming a much too strong a correlation between national TV ratings and traditional measures of business success (profitability, asset appreciation, etc.), particularly for sports leagues that get most of their revenues from other sources.
 
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IdiotKicker

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It is interesting that after a prolonged period of climbing ratings, this is the season when that trend changes. Many here have pointed out the various reasons for this however I wonder when this starts to negatively impact the NFL's revenue.
Revenue really isn't going to be impacted until the next rights deals are negotiated. Depending on the year, between 45-60% of the league's revenue comes from the national TV deals and things similar to that (Twitter games, Yahoo game, etc). Sponsorship revenue is in the ballpark of 8-12% per year, so when you add those two pieces together, you're talking somewhere between 55-70% of league revenue, with the rest coming from ticket sales, merchandise, local deals, and so forth. But TV deals and national sponsorships are the major drivers.

The big rights deals start to come up in 2021 through 2023. So the NFL has about a two year window to start showing signs of life, as you want a 2-3 year track record of growth, and you're not going to go down to the wire negotiating the deal to distribute your content. So they are somewhat under the gun on this. They don't need to grow viewership by a lot, as just by virtue of maintaining their viewers, they still have some of the biggest media properties out there, but they really can't show continued decline, especially on the primetime games.

Having said that, remember that the last major rights deals were negotiated in 2011, and were priced based on the economy and value of the dollar at the time. So there is a chance that you could still see the next rights deal increase even if ratings continue to be weaker than expected, just because cost inflation may push things up slightly anyways. But it wouldn't be by anywhere near what we've seen in previous deals.

In short, revenue is likely to not grow as quickly as it has previously, but I'm skeptical of seeing a decline in the next rights deal unless we see another double-digit decline next year, in which case the league has a real problem.
 

Bleedred

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Totally anecdotal, but I have a good friend who sells advertising in the Atlanta media market and works for the radio station that owns the Falcons rights. Just last week, he has had 3 separate sponsors inquire about radio ratings in light of the decline of the TV ratings. He said it was just an inquiry, and no indication that they are backing off their ad buys yet, but it worries him.
 

OCST

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Totally anecdotal, but I have a good friend who sells advertising in the Atlanta media market and works for the radio station that owns the Falcons rights. Just last week, he has had 3 separate sponsors inquire about radio ratings in light of the decline of the TV ratings. He said it was just an inquiry, and no indication that they are backing off their ad buys yet, but it worries him.
The universe of people who listen to Falcons radio broadcasts could probably fit in my living room.
 

troparra

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I recognize that this is getting pretty far into the intangible, but I do think that the NFL has suffered from mission creep.

They leaned into the military/"Football is Family"/football is America stuff extremely hard in order to build audience share. But they did it so well that football can no longer be just a sport where enormous athletic freaks pummel each other for our amusement. Now the NFL has to organize the game while protecting the shield AND the flag AND breasts AND victims of domestic abuse, etc. And it turns out that people who are good at organizing a sport where enormous athletic freaks pummel each other aren't necessarily real good at meaningfully deploying patriotic symbols or saving breasts or effectively addressing domestic violence etc.

The whole edifice has just gotten so obviously manipulative and unwieldy that it is less appealing (to me, at least).
I agree, and I don't think the NFL Personal Conduct Policy is helping. It basically covers every imaginable crime. So the NFL is getting its incompetent hands involved in a variety of legal issues that really have nothing to do with the game. But the policy doesn't seem to do what it's supposed to, i.e. promote good behavior. It just draws attention to bad behavior. Now everybody's weighing in on whether cold-cocking your wife should be a 2-, 4- or 6-game suspension.
 
Nov 24, 2015
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I agree, and I don't think the NFL Personal Conduct Policy is helping. It basically covers every imaginable crime. So the NFL is getting its incompetent hands involved in a variety of legal issues that really have nothing to do with the game. But the policy doesn't seem to do what it's supposed to, i.e. promote good behavior. It just draws attention to bad behavior. Now everybody's weighing in on whether cold-cocking your wife should be a 2-, 4- or 6-game suspension.
I've said this since the beginning, and still believe it - the nfl's response a couple of years ago to Ray Rice, or Tommy Harris's gun violations, or whatever should have been something like -

"The NFL does not have the experience, expertise, or personnel to investigate and adjudicate criminal acts. In respect to the Department of Justice, and law enforcement everywhere, we will only be enforcing discipline for activities that occur on the field of play, or affect the game. We do this in the interest of both fairness to the players accused of crimes, and fairness to any victims. Both deserve the protection of the law"

There's really no upside to the NFL involving themselves.
 

MainerInExile

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There's really no upside to the NFL involving themselves.
I agree, I never understood why Goodell is always grabbing for the power. If I were him, I would want such things to be handled by an independent commission. Then I get to throw stones at others and throw up my hands and say "I can't do anything about it!"

Giving out discipline for this stuff is all downside, no upside.
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
31,460
I've said this since the beginning, and still believe it - the nfl's response a couple of years ago to Ray Rice, or Tommy Harris's gun violations, or whatever should have been something like -

"The NFL does not have the experience, expertise, or personnel to investigate and adjudicate criminal acts. In respect to the Department of Justice, and law enforcement everywhere, we will only be enforcing discipline for activities that occur on the field of play, or affect the game. We do this in the interest of both fairness to the players accused of crimes, and fairness to any victims. Both deserve the protection of the law"

There's really no upside to the NFL involving themselves.
"Upside?"
Seriously? Sometimes life throws you situations in which there is no "upside." And if Roger Goodell was not an invertebrate, he'd make them. Sometimes, maybe they need to wait, sometimes they dont. Its their fucking league; its up to them whether shitheads like Hardy and Josh Brown should be allowed to play. "But, ooooohhhhhhh, it's such a hard decision...." Goodell needs to get his ass kicked.

To bring it back to the threat title. If the NFL ever made an announcement like that, they'd lose sponsors.

Somehow, MLB was able to deal with Reyes and Chapman.
 
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mauf

Anderson Cooper × Mr. Rogers
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Jun 22, 2008
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Somehow, MLB was able to deal with Reyes and Chapman.
Did the media treat the Aroldis Chapman and Ray Rice stories similarly, even prior to the Rice video? Of course not. You don't have to think the NFL handles player conduct issues well (obviously, they don't) to acknowledge that it's a tough job -- the degree of difficulty for the NFL is much higher than for other pro sports leagues. That's partly because of the vast popularity of the league, partly because they have a bigger problem than the other leagues (mostly because of larger rosters, but partly because of a greater incidence of violent misconduct), partly because the violent nature of the sport causes fans to view off-field violent misconduct by players differently, and partly because their player population is a lot darker-skinned than their fan base.

Imo, the best solution for ownership is for Goodell to take a hard line, but to allow for an independent appeals process, such that actual player discipline would be slightly less strict than it is now. This is the NFL's best bet to deal with guys like Pacman Jones and Ben Roethlisberger who put everyone's livelihood at risk, without creating an expectation that the NFL will compensate across the board for the criminal justice system's weaknesses; incidentally, it would also keep guys like TB12 from getting railroaded.
 
Nov 24, 2015
1,204
"Upside?"
Seriously? Sometimes life throws you situations in which there is no "upside." And if Roger Goodell was not an invertebrate, he'd make them. Sometimes, maybe they need to wait, sometimes they dont. Its their fucking league; its up to them whether shitheads like Hardy and Josh Brown should be allowed to play. "But, ooooohhhhhhh, it's such a hard decision...." Goodell needs to get his ass kicked.

Somehow, MLB was able to deal with Reyes and Chapman.
It's shitty, but the if the MLB hadn't suspended him, they probably aren't talking about MLB players committing domestic violence during a world series broadcast where millions of people turned in that don't usually watch baseball. The takeaway for most fans isn't "Man, the MLB is doing such a great job combatting domestic violence" - it's "Man, baseball players are scum".

The NFL is trying to combat the perception that NFL players are mostly wifebeating assholes - but they're doing it by making players who are wifebeating assholes a major, unavoidable focus of the NFL news cycle. It's a bit like security vulnerabilities in software - Microsoft sends out a bulletin saying they found a vulnerability (and workarounds/patches/etc) - and the software gets demonstrably more secure, but the public perception ends up lower.

I'm not saying that it's the right thing to do - but there's no way the NFL is ever going to be anything better than an abysmally terrible law enforcement agency - and not doing something is smarter than doing it terribly.
 

joe dokes

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 18, 2005
31,460
Did the media treat the Aroldis Chapman and Ray Rice stories similarly, even prior to the Rice video? Of course not. You don't have to think the NFL handles player conduct issues well (obviously, they don't) to acknowledge that it's a tough job -- the degree of difficulty for the NFL is much higher than for other pro sports leagues. That's partly because of the vast popularity of the league, partly because they have a bigger problem than the other leagues (mostly because of larger rosters, but partly because of a greater incidence of violent misconduct), partly because the violent nature of the sport causes fans to view off-field violent misconduct by players differently, and partly because their player population is a lot darker-skinned than their fan base.

Imo, the best solution for ownership is for Goodell to take a hard line, but to allow for an independent appeals process, such that actual player discipline would be slightly less strict than it is now. This is the NFL's best bet to deal with guys like Pacman Jones and Ben Roethlisberger who put everyone's livelihood at risk, without creating an expectation that the NFL will compensate across the board for the criminal justice system's weaknesses; incidentally, it would also keep guys like TB12 from getting railroaded.
Of course, I agree its a tough job. I have no problem with some sort of independent process. But abdicating it completely as suggested above is not a solution.