A proclaimed epidemic in the National Football League, professional football viewership has decreased in the past few months, losing money for one of the most lucrative American industries. Watching football, the most popular sport in the United States, is a Sunday activity for many, so hearing the news of a viewership decline may come as a surprise for some.
“Monday Night Football is down 24% from this time a year ago, Sunday Night Football down 19% and Thursday night down 18%,” according to Sports Illustrated.
The NFL has been trying to figure out the sources of this decrease, hoping to determine a way to fix it. The organization believes that some of the problems arise from the duration of the game and the constant clock stoppages which lengthen the match.
“Could [the games] be shorter? Could they be better? Are replays too long?” said Brian Rolapp, NFL Media Executive Vice President. “We are constantly looking at those things to make the pace of the games more interesting,” he said.
One of the main arguments that comes with the abhorrent length of the game is the incessant flags (some of which people complain ruins the game as they are not accurate penalties) and commercials that plague the league week after week. While some think that NFL RedZone, a channel which only shows scoring and major plays while skipping through different games and limiting commercials, may have played a major role in this decline.
“Not sure why the NFL even allows it, but I would much rather watch RedZone than sit through a network broadcast for 3.5 hours—almost half of which are commercials,” said Dave Spaulding, a football fan, as reported by Peter King of the Monday Morning Quarterback.
However, some even question the idea that viewership has actually gone down. According to the Fox Sports PR’s twitter account, the Thanksgiving matchup between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins had 35.1 million people watching, the most for a regular season game ever on Fox.
Whether or not the amount of viewers has actually diminished, the fans have definitely found errors with the NFL, and the organization hopes to fix it in the future.