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Declining Sports Ratings


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A note to the admins. This isn't a political post. In fact the information presented removes politics from any explanation of ratings decline.


Sometimes we read too much into things. For example a lot was made about the decline in NFL ratings last year. They were down by about 10%.

There was a lot of anecdotal "man on the street" analysis. It was caused by negative reaction to players kneeling during the anthem. No, it was caused by a reaction to the consequences of head injuries. No, the games were boring and star players were hurt.

But this is superficial. College football ratings were also down. That rules out the political aspect and injuries to stars.

But it's bigger than that. Olympic ratings are down 15% from the previous winter games.

Wait. It gets better. NASCAR ratings were down 17% last year and overall down by 50% from their peak in 2005. Attendence at the races is also down.

The ratings for last Sunday's Daytona 500, the kickoff race for the 2018 season, were a record low.

To put all this in context the rating declines aren't just in sports. Network ratings for general interest shows are also down on all 4 networks.

By an average of 8%.


I'll admit that I ascribed the NFL decline to the ugly facts about CTE but looking at the overall declines across the board I think we're looking at something much bigger.

I don't work in media any more so I only have an academic interest in the reason behind the across the board drop. But the next time somebody tries to explain the NFL ratings decline with a superficial argument you may want to tell them about NASCAR. The results should be fun.

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Isn't it very simply that people -- especially the younger demographic -- aren't consuming sports via network television like they're not consuming music via records and CDs?

 

Or perhaps more pertinently, because fewer people are buying an actual newspaper doesn't mean that the newspaper's readership is declining (although its ad revenues probably are).

 

 

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Isn't it very simply that people -- especially the younger demographic -- aren't consuming sports via network television like they're not consuming music via records and CDs?

 

Or perhaps more pertinently, because fewer people are buying an actual newspaper doesn't mean that the newspaper's readership is declining (although its ad revenues probably are).

 

 

 

 

That would be my guess too but I would really like to see some in depth research to back up our intuition. I think we can rule out the idea that people are spending more quality time with their families or going to the opera more frequently.

 

I think you know how much the NASCAR numbers thrilled me.

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Isn't it very simply that people -- especially the younger demographic -- aren't consuming sports via network television like they're not consuming music via records and CDs?

 

Or perhaps more pertinently, because fewer people are buying an actual newspaper doesn't mean that the newspaper's readership is declining (although its ad revenues probably are).

 

 

That would be my guess too but I would really like to see some in depth research to back up our intuition. I think we can rule out the idea that people are spending more quality time with their families or going to the opera more frequently.

 

 

 

I think you know how much the NASCAR numbers thrilled me.

I’d agree with this hypothesis but add that sports was always what was watched to see rancorous competition (either 1:1 or team). Now we have alternatives - “reality tv” (from Survivor to The Voice to The Amazing Race) or politics (I won’t elaborate) to scratch that itch.

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I think the research which would be informative would be ratings on things like network talk shows, sit coms, and dramas. I suspect there's a pattern.

 

NASCAR, actually, is a very interesting brand, with cutting edge strategies for attracting digital audiences. I've been very impressed.

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Our culture has shifted, pretty radically, toward on-demand viewing. I think that any television event with a set schedule and a very short half-life for keeping the outcome from getting to a consumer's eyes would be hurting.

 

I know lots of people who go to sportsball games but never watch them on television. They keep track of scores, watch clips of highlights, and go on with their lives. Except, maybe, in March.

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I think the research which would be informative would be ratings on things like network talk shows, sit coms, and dramas. I suspect there's a pattern.

 

NASCAR, actually, is a very interesting brand, with cutting edge strategies for attracting digital audiences. I've been very impressed.

im under the impression NASCAR has taken the biggest hit in terms of viewership.
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I heard the ratings are getting so bad, they might start arresting athletes that beat their wives.

 

Just like chefs that grab the asses of kitchen staff. Or movie producers.

 

There are jerks in every profession.

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I think the research which would be informative would be ratings on things like network talk shows, sit coms, and dramas. I suspect there's a pattern.

 

 

The network figures I quoted were for those of them that provide those type of programs plus sports. Their overall ratings are down across the board.

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I think the research which would be informative would be ratings on things like network talk shows, sit coms, and dramas. I suspect there's a pattern.

 

NASCAR, actually, is a very interesting brand, with cutting edge strategies for attracting digital audiences. I've been very impressed.

im under the impression NASCAR has taken the biggest hit in terms of viewership.

I was referring to their digital operation aimed at extending the brand over other channels. I thought it was very well conceived, but I have no idea how successful it currently is. If people don't want the experience, you are stuffed (to be technical).

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I think the research which would be informative would be ratings on things like network talk shows, sit coms, and dramas. I suspect there's a pattern.

 

The network figures I quoted were for those of them that provide those type of programs plus sports. Their overall ratings are down across the board.

Confused. That might be consistent with sports ratings going up.

 

Of course ratings are going down across the board.

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