While we are still waiting for the final ratings, the early numbers are not strong. The preliminary ratings do not include the west coast numbers. Since the Los Angeles Rams were involved in the Sunday night game, there is a chance that the numbers could be higher when it’s all said and done. That’s probably just wishful thinking, though.
Los Angeles is not exactly known for being a football town. The Rams are only able to get people in the doors when they are Super Bowl contenders. Now that things are a bit more uncertain, we highly doubt that Los Angeles residents are raring to watch games in the empty stadium that they paid through the nose to build.
The Rams are no strangers to empty seats but there was a big difference for the Sunday night game. The fans were actually told to stay away for once. Mind you, the NFL even had the ratings juggernaut that is the Dallas Cowboys to help them and still, they are suffering. These teams are both supposed to have massive followings (the Cowboys are a more national team, while the Rams are supposed to be LA’s team) but the picture painted by the ratings is a grim one.
The game drew roughly 14.8 million viewers, which sounds fine until you look at last year’s opener. The Patriots and Steelers completed a 33-3 blowout in front of far more eyeballs. This game pulled in an audience of 22.2 million. We weren’t math majors but that does not seem ideal. The Thursday night opener with the Kansas City Chiefs did not fare much better, either.
You’d think that this game would have been a ratings smash. The defending champs going against an electric, young quarterback? It should have been a no brainer. From the moment that the fans booed a moment of silence that was taken for racial unity, we knew where this was going. This contest saw a 12 percent decline from last year’s season opener.
There are a few theories floating around. Some believe that the NFL is suffering because they are being forced to compete with other playoff games. The league is usually not accustomed to sharing the airwaves with NBA and NHL playoff games. These sports finish their seasons long before the NFL’s, in most years.
This is not most years, obviously. That excuse also doesn’t hold water because there were no NBA games that night. The NHL also finished their games well before kickoff. These leagues will operate in deference to the NFL and this cannot be used as the scapegoat. Football fans should want football, regardless of whatever else is going on.
The steep drop off in the ratings could be attributed to politics. When Morning Consult took a poll of NFL fans and asked about their level of excitement for the season, you’ll notice a definite trend. Those who are voting for Trump were most likely to experience a loss of enthusiasm. As the NFL tries to become more woke, they are sure to lose more and more viewers.
While the NFL runs propaganda about how they care about Black Life, they are still actively blackballing Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) for fighting for the Black community. Eric set 2 franchise records last year, and is one of the best defensive players in the league. https://t.co/KQXTaOCcnU
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 13, 2020
The anti-Trump crowd is also losing their willingness to watch, which is odd. Shouldn’t they be the ones who are most excited about the shift? The decline could also be attributed to the pandemic. It’s not like the left has anything against the game of football. Maybe they are just looking for other ways to stay distracted in the meantime. Some might be tempted to think that the league is not being woke ENOUGH for their liking.
The whole thing is probably much ado about nothing, honestly. The sheer novelty of watching Tom Brady don the red and pewter for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was enough to make the Bucs-Saints game a nice winner for Fox. We suspect that fans will be more into the games once they have access to some match ups that are actually worth getting excited about.