Initial results show that there was a sharp decline in TV ratings for the 2020 season opener. Is it because of the Black Lives Matter Movement?
The NFL returned after a long break filled with uncertainty and lost hope for a football season. The defending champion Chiefs eased past the Texans in a brilliant display of offensive football.
However, the ratings for the game were apparently not too brilliant.
According to Deadline, the game rated just 5.2 for adults aged 18-49, the main target demographic for advertisers. Additionally, the broadcast only attracted a relatively lackluster 16.4 million viewers. Overall, the ratings were down by a whopping 16.1% from 2019’s season opener.
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) September 11, 2020
Are Ratings Down Because of the BLM Movement?
There has been a lot of debate in the buildup to Thursday’s game about the decision to mix politics and sports. It’s clear why critics of this decision might have steered away from the game.
Social justice slogans in the end zone, political messaging, and the players not coming out for the national anthem. Not to mention, players linked hands in a “show of unity” which provoked some booing from the crowd at Arrowhead. All factors which could have potentially raised criticism from some fans.
Among there critics is President Donald Trump. Although he has been in favor of sports league restarting, he recently stated that he hopes there is no NFL if players don’t stand for the National Anthem.
Trump also predicted a drop in TV ratings for the NBA and NFL. It may be too early to say, but it is starting to look like Trump may be proven right.
Other Reasons for the Ratings Drop
While the reason for the ratings slump may very well be the political activism in the sport, there is no way to tell for sure. A number of other factors could have been behind it too.
For example, yesterday was an unusually crowded day for sports. The NBA playoffs, Stanley Cup, and US Open, just to name a few, were amongst the major sporting events that took place yesterday.
It could be that fans simply preferred to watch the higher stakes games instead of a season opener. Another reason could be that the matchup was a relatively weak one.
Compared to last year’s opener between the Packers and Bears, yesterday’s game lacked the same competition and rivalry that fans love. Also, it is always possible that the increased use of online streaming adversely affected the TV ratings for the NFL.
Whatever the reason was, the league will hope to get it under control. The last thing they need right now is declining TV viewership considering the already huge amount of revenue they will be using from ticket sales.