Patriots-Chiefs Game Suggests NFL’s Ratings Problem Isn’t Going Anywhere

A lot of people watched the Kansas City Chiefs trounce the New England Patriots, 42-27, Thursday night at Gillette Stadium. But the NFL might be disappointed with just how many people tuned in to the season opener.

NBC drew a 14.6 TV rating for its NFL Kickoff game broadcast, according to Sports TV Ratings. That’s a big number, but look how it stacks up against recent kickoff games:

Although, NBC’s public relations department was quick to point out that, when compared to TV events from the last three months, Thursday’s game actually did quite well.

As SportsBusiness Daily’s Austin Karp points out, the game’s ratings might’ve been negatively impacted by the widespread coverage of Hurricane Irma.

The notion that national stories can dent NFL TV ratings is nothing new, as the fact that the 2016 season ran concurrent with the presidential election clearly impacted the league’s ratings. And, although numbers rebounded once the election concluded, total viewership still dropped 8 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to USA TODAY.

Sure, competing coverage doesn’t help, but the NFL’s ratings decline also could be attributed to problems with the product itself, such as poor officiating, pace of play and over-saturation.

However, the possibility remains that perhaps people just aren’t as interested in football as they used to be.

Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper /USA TODAY Sports Images

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