NFL Gets Ratings Boost From Playoffs

Despite Sunday Night Football being, yet again, the top program on TV, the NFL has not had the best year for TV ratings. Viewership is down, as consumer habits are changing and more people are seeing their “TV time” split among standard cable offerings and streaming media.

That said, the NFL conference championships helped the league pull out of the slump in a big way. More than 40 million people tuned in to watch each game, easily besting any other programming this year. The NFC title game was, according to Fox, the most-watched broadcast since the Super Bowl. Those are huge numbers no matter how you slice it. But not everything is good news and silver linings. As compared to last season, this year’s conference championship games still saw fewer viewers, and that’s something that must be giving the NFL fits headed into this season’s Super Bowl.

AFC Championship Down Five Percent

How bad was it, exactly? Despite an exciting game between the Cinderella Jaguars and the perennial favorite Patriots, the AFC Championship game was down about five percent as compared to last year’s early game matchup that pitted the Packers against the streaking Falcons. The late game, which turned out to be the NFC Championship this year between the Vikings and the Eagles saw a 12 percent drop, despite the intrigue headed into the game. It didn’t help that it was a blowout being fought between two backup quarterbacks, but a double-digit drop is bad news no matter who’s slinging the pigskin.

After the disappointing showing, the NFL trotted out the same tired excuses it has been pushing all season: injuries, too many options, worse matchups… But these are things the NFL deals with every year. Sure, the league saw some key losses: multiple starting quarterbacks, including Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay, and about half the starters in New York, but that simply cannot account for the early Exodus of fans this season.

NFL is Worried

The downturn is real, and it has to have the NFL worried headed into the Super Bowl, much less into the draft and considering the prospects for next season. All year, the NFL has been dragged into political scraps thanks to player protests of the National Anthem. And, as much as the NFL doesn’t want those protests to be an issue, they clearly are. That makes this drop in viewership about more than too many options.

It’s a public relations failure, and it’s not going away anytime soon. The league can choose to ignore it, or the league can act. Only one of these options offers any hope of regaining lost viewers between now and next season.

About Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of 5W Public Relations. He is an experienced leader in the public relations industry with over 20 years of experience. Ronn Torossian has been named as Public Relations executive of the year by the American Business Awards, and has run countless award-winning Public Relations programs.

Ronn Torossian with Gary Vaynerchuk – American entrepreneur, author, speaker and CEO of VaynerMedia.

Ronn Torossian

Ronn Torossian is the Founder and Chairman of 5WPR, one of the largest independently-owned PR firms in the United States. With over 25 years of experience crafting and executing powerful narratives, Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and well-respected Public Relations professionals. Since founding 5WPR in 2003, he has led the company’s growth, overseeing more than 275 professionals. With clients spanning corporate, technology, consumer and crisis, in addition to digital marketing and public affairs capabilities, 5WPR is regularly recognized as an industry leader and has been named “PR Agency of the Year” by the American Business Awards on multiple occasions. Throughout his career, Torossian has worked with some of the world’s most visible companies, brands and organizations. His strategic, resourceful approach has been recognized with numerous awards including being named the Stevie American Business Awards 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year, the American Business Awards PR Executive of the Year, twice over, an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year semi-finalist, Metropolitan Magazine’s Most Influential New Yorker, a 2020 Top Crisis Communications Professional by Business Insider, and a recipient of Crain’s New York 2021 Most Notable in Marketing & PR. Torossian is known as one of the country’s foremost experts on crisis communications, and is called on to counsel blue chip companies, top business executives and entrepreneurs both in the United States and worldwide. Torossian has lectured on crisis PR at Harvard Business School, appears regularly on CNN & CNBC, is a contributing columnist for Forbes and the New York Observer, and has authored two editions of his book, “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results With Game-Changing Public Relations,” which is an industry best-seller. A NYC native, Torossian is a member of Young Presidents Organization (YPO), and active in numerous charities.

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