Discussions Begin Toward Reducing Thursday Night Schedule
TV executives are considering all options in order to check the plunge in ratings that the NFL has suffered over the last two years. Per Sports Business Journal. ratings are down 18% overall from the 2015 season. Sponsors and media executives have approached the league about the option to cancel Thursday Night football games, by reducing the slate from eighteen to eight. With such a sharp drop in viewership, the Journal poses the question, “Is oversaturation hurting ratings?”
There seem to be dozens of reasons for the ratings downturn, from protests during the national anthem and the continued ratings strength of cable news networks to the concussion issue and weather-related problems.
But one reason increasingly being discussed in media circles deals with NFL oversaturation, a topic that has irked network executives since the league launched NFL Network in 2003.
So far this season, fans have been able to watch games on Thursday nights, Sunday mornings, Sunday afternoons, Sunday nights and Monday nights. Later in the season, games will be available on Saturdays.
Network executives were reluctant to discuss NFL oversaturation on the record. But one of the reasons many of them are focused on the perceived oversaturation of NFL content is because they believe the problem has a couple of easy answers, unlike many of the other reasons, over which the NFL has little control.
Network executives never have warmed to the expansion of “Thursday Night Football” from eight NFL Network-only games to 18 over NFL Network, CBS and NBC. Media executives and some sponsors informally have lobbied the NFL to move back to an eight-game, NFL Network-only package that would return 10 games to the Sunday afternoon packages.
‘Oversaturation’ Is Not The Only Issue
Oversaturation may be a small factor in the equation, but I think that execs are trying to slap a band-aid on a gaping open wound. The NFL opened up the Thursday night schedule to 18 games in 2012. Ratings were still strong into the 2015 season.
The NFL has arrived to the point where they could cancel Thursday Night football, but it is shortsighted to place the blame on ‘oversaturation.’ The Shield took public relations hits from the Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson and Richie Incognito incidents, yet ratings were still strong. When Colin Kaepernick chose to kneel during the National Anthem, and the league allowed it to morph into entire teams taking a collective knee, linking arms in a liberal-inspired daisy chain, and players giving the Black Panther salute, White fans ran for the exits faster than if they announced Jemele Hill would replace the halftime show as a guest speaker.
Millions of fans of all colors found the National Anthem protests so distasteful, that they refused to attend games and turned the channel. Take a look at the empty stadiums on this post. Take a moment to examine the Yahoo Finance survey where 77% of fans felt that it was wrong for the players to kneel and 72% said they would permanently feel less supportive of the NFL.
When you actively attempt to piss off over 70% of your fanbase, most of whom happen to be White, by shoving anti-White political statements in their face, don’t expect them to stick around. Whether they cancel Thursday Night Football or not, ratings will continue to languish. Roger Goodell fucked this one up coming and going. Despite the growth in revenue of the league since 2006, he will be remembered as the Commissioner who let it all fall apart.