The NFL saw an 8% decrease in TV viewership during the 2016 season and ad buyers are projecting additional losses during the 2017 season. A Variety survey of commercial ratings projections (taken from the 3 top media buying agencies) indicated that fewer people are expected to watch commercials live during NFL games and within the 7 day period following the broadcast, than last season. While some believe the NFL has peaked, its games still draw higher ratings than just about anything else on television.
Howie Long Short: A drop in ratings means less ads to sell. Broadcasters promise ad buyers a number of impressions. If they fall short, they use future ads as “makegoods” to offset the difference. Needless to say, those are ads that can’t be sold to other buyers.
Fan Marino: For the first time in 25 years the NFL isn’t rapidly growing and the league’s owners are looking to give the Commissioner a 5 year contract extension through 2024. Why now? Who else is paying him $35 million/year?