NFL Ratings Surge Blessing for TV Networks

CNBC’s recent article covering the NFL ratings surge experienced by the league this past year is an insightful look at the important role sports broadcasting plays in the world of television.  According to the news site, the NFL’s ratings grew by five percent this past season after years of decline. This will be monumental for the league as renegotiations with television networks are set to begin in 2021.  Not only is this good news for the NFL, but also for TV networks in general who rely heavily on strong sports ratings for advertising revenue. CNBC’s report stated that sixty-three percent of the Fox networks gross ratings last year came from the NFL alone.  In recent years, TV networks have seen their NFL ratings take a sharp decline as consumers continue to transition away from cable TV in favor of cheaper streaming services. Interestingly, this past year overall the league saw their ratings among the eighteen to twenty-four demographic shrink by slightly less than five percent while ratings among older viewers grew.   

I found this article to be of particular interest to me because it perfectly encapsulated the pivotal role sports broadcasting, particularly the NFL, plays in the overall success of traditional TV networks.  The statistic that more than half of the Fox networks gross ratings come from football alone completely took me by surprise by how critically important the NFL is to cable television. This news of a ratings leap will definitely give the league a significant amount of leverage in the coming months when negotiations resume between the NFL and television networks.  It remains to be seen however, how long this surge in ratings will last; as streaming continues its inevitable growth.


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