After Plummeting NFL Ratings, Network Executives Threaten to Cut Thursday Games

October 25, 2017Oct 25, 2017

Breitbart News reports that network executives are scrambling to solve the growing problem of crashing ratings for the National Football League (NFL). The latest idea is to cut down the number of games, in order to end the perceived over-saturation of football on TV.

Fewer games are being proposed as the key to combating sliding ratings, with one idea being to cut Thursday Night Football by a total of ten games, reports Breitbart. In particular, the idea is to trim Thursday Night Football from 18 games a season to only eight, which was first reported by Sports Business Journal. 

Over the past decade, the number of games aired on television has notably increased. In fact, this year, the number of games has increased to 39 total, which is a 22% increase. College football has also increased over the past ten years by roughly 71%.

Sports Business Daily writes that there are several reasons for the rating downturn. "There seem to be dozens of reasons for the rating downturn, from protests during the national anthem and the continued ratings strength of cable news networks to the concussion issue and weather-related problem."

But one reason increasingly being discussed in media circles deals with so-called "oversaturation." For this reason, many are talking about cutting down a number of games.

Overall, viewership this season is down by about 7 percent from the same point last season and 18 percent compared with the 2015 season. More concerning the network executives are the 11 percent ratings drop in the 18 to 34 year old demographic. 

The NFL has been criticized for national anthem protests since former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during a 2016 preseason game. Kaepernick claimed he was protesting racial injustice and police brutality. Trump has long been upset about the NFL protests, believing that they are disrespectful to both the flag and the troops. 

Trump's comment seemed to escalate the controversy. Beforehand the issue was mainly talked about only in the conservative news media. But now NFL protests seem to be a widespread news story. And on top of that, the NFL protests themselves drastically escalated. Players started kneeling at games during the anthem, with some teams choosing to skip it altogether.

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