NFL relies on Super Bowl to increase viewership

RedZone and fantasy football contribute to lowered NFL ratings

David Heiman, Sports Editor

Over the last couple of years, the NFL’s viewer ratings have gone down enough to grab the league’s attention.

Some reasons for the low viewership in recent years might be the rise of RedZone, Fantasy Football, and the new findings of health concerns.

Because of these recent occurences, casual NFL fans might not have chosen to watch one game for three hours when they had the option to watch multiple.

Numbers indicated that Monday Night Football viewership was down 24% from last year, Sunday Night Football is down 19%, and Thursday Night Football is down 18%.

While there was no single answer for what caused the ratings to tumble, it has led many NFL fans and experts to speculate what could be the cause.

Junior Josh Alter said, “I think the low NFL ratings are because of all the concussion stuff going on right now. It’s shining a bad light on the NFL and that to me is the main reason the ratings are down.”

Alter continued to say, “It surprises me that Monday Night Football and Sunday Night Football are down but not Thursday Night. The idea of Thursday Night Football was bad and bound to fail from the beginning. It is just a bad day to have prime time football.”

While some experts agreed with Alter’s reasoning, there was still no clear cut answer. Bleacher report writer, Matt Miller, said that he thinks the rise of college football in recent years may be the biggest cause of the ratings pummel for the NFL.

Junior Lucas Gottshall countered this idea, saying, “I think RedZone is the reason it’s so down. I like to watch the Bears play full games, but besides that, I am on RedZone because it is so much more convenient to watch all the games and see all the touchdowns.”

However, both Gottshall and Alter agreed that fantasy football is not the main reason the NFL is struggling.

Alter said, “I don’t think it’s fantasy, yes RedZone is obviously huge for fantasy players, but I don’t think that would hurt it. I think fantasy would help the ratings for individual games, especially the prime time night ones because it’s only one game and if you have a player in it or your opponent does, you want to watch and see what happens”.

With the Super Bowl coming up with two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks facing off, Matt Ryan of the Atlanta Falcons and Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, the NFL was hoping this game could turn around what has been a rough couple of years for the league.

The NFL hoped that the Super Bowl could maintain the NFL’s position at the top.

Fortunately for them, the game made history this year by becoming the first Super Bowl to go into overtime. It also set an all-time television record of peaking at 172 million viewers during the event.

However, it wasn’t enough to top the event’s 2016 ratings. While the Patriots’ last Super Bowl performance drew a record average of  114.4 million viewers, this year’s average viewership of 111.3 million was the Super Bowl’s lowest in the last three years.