Sports

NFL's Hall of Fame Game Viewership Plummets, Lowest Since 2012

Combined Shape

For many NFL fans, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game means that the drought is nearly over.

It’s the official kickoff to the preseason, which means the regular season is within shouting distance.

After having to make do with events like the draft and free agency, NFL fans are champing at the bit to see some actual football on a field, no matter how meaningless of a preseason game it is.

Except… that fervor doesn’t seem nearly as strong this year.

According to Sports Business Journal reporter John Ourand, the NFL’s first batch of ratings from its 2019-2020 season plummeted from the prior season.

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According to Ourand, Thursday’s Hall of Fame Game featuring the Denver Broncos and the Atlanta Falcons averaged 5.329 million viewers.

Compare that to the 6.779 million viewers that the Hall of Fame Game featuring the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens had last year.

Are you still watching the NFL?

That’s a drop of 1.45 million, or 21 percent. Losing a fifth of your viewership year-over-year is not an insignificant loss.

According to Sports Media Watch, the overnight ratings dropped as well, though not nearly as steeply.

Last year’s Bears-Ravens game netted a 4.7 overnight rating. This year’s Broncos-Falcons matchup garnered a 4.1 rating, the game’s worst since 2012.

For what it’s worth, bad preseason ratings is not indicative or predictive for regular season ratings at all. To the average fan, preseason games are literally meaningless and often don’t feature the NFL’s best players.

By that same token, however, it’s hardly been a secret that NFL ratings have been a rollercoaster as of late. Amid the occasional uptick, there has been a noticeable downward trend.

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In fact, it was bad enough that at the end of the 2017 season, the NFL even had to refund some advertisers due to the poor ratings.

To be clear, relativity matters here. Even a diminished NFL is the king of cable television and, frankly, it’s not even close.

So, even with lower ratings, the Hall of Fame game still averaged more viewers than basically all the other major sporting events on Thursday combined.

However, between a cadre of controversies, such as national anthem protests and various player problems, it does appear as if the NFL’s never-ending PR battle has started to take a tangible toll.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than two years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than two years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Birthplace
Hawaii
Education
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
Location
Phoenix, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, Korean
Topics of Expertise
Sports, Entertainment, Science/Tech




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