Dear NFL: Turn To Radio For Ratings Recovery

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By Adam R Jacobson
RBR + TVBR


If you believe The Washington Post and a host of other media sources, the National Football League is in a funk.

In the words of Postie Drew Harwell, in his Oct. 14 article highlighting ratings challenges for NFL broadcasts aired so far this season, “Football, America’s biggest prime-time powerhouse, has been thrust into a crisis this fall, with dwindling ratings sparking questions over whether it can remain a gold mine for television in an age when more Americans are abandoning traditional TV.”

Harwell continues, “Network executives have long used the National Football League’s live games as a last line of defense against the rapid growth of ‘cord-cutting’ and on-demand viewing upending the industry. But now, the NFL is seeing its ratings tumble in the same way that the Olympics, awards shows and other live events have, falling more than 10% for the first five weeks of the season, compared with the first five weeks of last season. A continued slide, executives say, could pose an even bigger danger: If football can’t survive the new age of TV, what can?”

Dear NFL: Perhaps if you put quality match-ups on Sunday Night Football and Monday Night Football — in addition to stop poisoning America with those awful Thursday Night Football matches — people would tune in.

It comes down to content, and quality. It’s a basic tenet of the radio industry and one that needs to be examined by the NFL and whoever came up with this year’s preposterous broadcast schedule.


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Adam R Jacobson is a veteran radio industry journalist and advertising industry analyst with general, multicultural and Hispanic market expertise. From 1996 to 2006 he served as an editor at Radio & Records.