Well it finally happened. In a year of dropping viewership, excuses, and bad play, the NFL lost its ratings’ throne on a night where it had one of the best/most compelling Sunday Night Football Games of the year. Game five of the World Series out-rated the NFL by almost 30 percent. The good news for the NFL is that the league won’t go up head-to-head against another marquee event for the rest of the season.
This is the first time in five years that MLB playoffs beat the NFL in ratings. The normal excuses aren’t applicable for the NFL this time. The Cubs probably had all of Chicago’s attention, but Dallas-Forth Worth and Philadelphia are both top-10 media markets. The Eagles and Cowboys are high profile teams. They both have good records — the game was for the NFC East lead — and both teams have stud young quarterbacks and star power.
MLB’s playoff game wasn’t even a game six or seven. If the World Series is getting huge numbers on Sunday, imagine what it will do on Tuesday or Wednesday (if applicable). This is a big win for the MLB
It’s a huge loss for the NFL. The Shield used to be Teflon, and now it is falling on more difficult times. Week eight was actually some of the best football of the season and still ratings dropped to lower than normal levels. It could be because of the level of play. It could be because of oversaturation. It could be because cord cutters and millennials, Josh Brown and Ray Rice, Colin Kaepnernick,or concussions. There could be a lot of reasons, but we will be able to check a few issues off the list soon.
We won’t have to wait long to see if ratings issues are caused by outside forces. The prognosticators of doom will know soon enough whether this is a systemic NFL problem or a situation cause by competing programming. The World Series will finish this week. The NBA started, but it shouldn’t pull that many viewers from the NFL. The election will end — hopefully without lawsuit or incident — on November 8.
That means reality is going to hit the NFL real fast. If ratings continue to drop or stay stagnant at current levels that means the problem isn’t anything else. The problem is the product. The problem is the NFL. It’s going to be a stressful few weeks after competitive programming drops off the map. I guess the NFL could blame the Walking Dead and zombies, but that won’t fly as a reason when owners want to know exactly what is happening. We’ll find out in a few weeks.