The NFL ratings have declined this season, prompting speculation that viewers are tuning out because of the protests by players, concern for players’ health, and the presidential elections. Despite the decline in ratings, plenty of people are still placing bets on games based on Super Bowl betting predictions, and stadiums are still packed every week with fans.
Due to the steady decline in ratings, Brian Rolapp, the NFL Media executive VP and NFL Network CEO, said on Wednesday that the league has to have an open mind about having some flexibility because the league’s success can go away very quickly.
Despite his warning, Rolapp also said the league wasn’t too worried about the current decline.
One of the reasons why Rolapp and other league executives aren’t worried about the decline in ratings is that historically, the league’s ratings have declined during election years, and they expect viewers to be back in front of their televisions now that the election is over.
Rolapp pointed out that the league’s ratings declined by 10 percent during the 2000 presidential elections but eventually bounced back after it was over.
Even though the election is blamed for most of the ratings decline, Rolapp said the league still has to figure out ways to keep fans interested in the games. He suggested a few ideas, one of which is to speed up the game.
Watching an NFL game these days’ means you’re going to be sending at least three and a half hours in front of your television set due to the insane amount of commercials and stoppage during the game.
Commercials have always been prominent during NFL games due to the numerous stoppage that goes on during games. However, they have gotten worse over the years and now there is a commercial break after a team scores, another after the ensuing kickoff, and another before the receiving team takes over on offense. Unfortunately, since the commercials mean advertisement dollars, don’t expect them to be reduced anytime soon.
An alternative the league can pursue when it comes to advertisement during games is to have the brand’s logo displayed on the screen anytime there is a stoppage instead of going to commercials, or have the brands displayed on the field like they do with soccer.
The only drawback to that alternative is the fact that the league probably won’t make as much advertising revenue doing that as they would if they cut to commercial breaks during stoppages.
Some people have suggested cutting replays shorter so they don’t take as much time as they do now, but that might only make things worse because one of the biggest problems the league has faced over the last couple of years is officiating mistakes.
NFL referees have been making a lot of bad calls lately, after which the league issues an apology. The problem with that is that the referees are not reprimanded for their mistakes and the team the bad call cost the game doesn’t get the result of the game overturned.
Since the referees can’t get things right on the field, cutting the time used for replay shorter only means more officiating mistakes, which will turn viewers off.