He may have signed a huge deal to become NFL Commissioner again, but life for Roger Goodell in this role as commander and Chief hasn’t got off to a great start and has certainly not been made any easier by the NFL’s falling ratings this season.
This season saw viewership drop off by a huge, and record breaking 9.7 percent and things didn’t get any better with the screening of last weekend’s wildcard games. In fact, when the figures came in, it showed that games were down on average by 13 percent, and unfortunately, when it came to the Saints and Panthers match up last Sunday, that number jumped to a huge 21 percent drop, this is according to TV ratings watchdogs, Nielsen.
In true Goodell style, he skirted the issue when asked by reporters before the Buffalo Bills – Jacksonville Jaguars game saying: “We always want ratings to go up.” He then reminded the press core that the NFL while in decline, still accounted for 37 of the top 50 shows in the US last year.
Any way you slice it, a decline of 9.7 percent that followed an 8 percent fall the year before is troublesome to say the least.
With the falloff in viewership, broadcasters of the NFL have had to devote a fifth of in-game ad time (at no extra cost to the advertisers) to making up for lost eyeballs on their advertisers’ products and services. Why? Well, the NFL had already done deals before the season had started and they have to meet preseason ratings targets they had negotiated.
This falloff in ratings has repercussions when it comes to the ad buys during this year’s Super Bowl. With the February 4th date fast approaching, advertisers are negotiating hard to try and keep this year’s ad spots below $5 million for the rights to a 30 second spot.
In 2016 broadcasters CBS got roughly $4.8 million per spot for a game that usually attracts around 110 million viewers. Fox tried to higher the bar by asking for $5 million last year, but insiders reported that they settled for less.