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NFL television ratings down nearly 10 percent while NBA TV ratings skyrocket

By The Sports Xchange
NFL television ratings down nearly 10 percent while NBA TV ratings skyrocket
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell holds a press conference prior to Super Bowl LI in Houston, Texas on February 1, 2017. Goodell spoke on possible rule changes, speeding up the pace of play and other player and game related issues. File photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Television ratings for NFL games dropped nearly 10 percent during the 2017 regular season, ESPN reported Thursday based on Nielsen findings.

An NFL game was watched by an average of 14.9 million people this season, compared with 16.5 million a season ago. That is a drop of 1.6 million viewers, a 9.7 percent reduction.

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This continues a decline in NFL viewership. An NFL game was watched by an average of 17.9 million people in 2015, and viewership dropped 1.4 million, or 8 percent, in 2016.

By comparison, the NBA has had a 20 percent increase in viewership in 2017-18 compared to last season.

The NFL this season used television commercials and attempts to speed up the game to try to stop the decline in viewership. But it had little effect.

Fans being upset with player protests during the national anthem may have an impact. The issue led to harsh criticism of the NFL by President Donald Trump.

Another possible factor, according to the ESPN report, included an oversaturation of the product. Thursday Night Football was broadcast on the NFL Network, CBS, NBC and Amazon Prime this season.

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NFL TV ratings are still high overall, however. Twenty of the top 30 highest-rated shows on television in 2017 were football games.

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