NFL ratings up in week 3 vs. 2016 amid anthem brouhaha

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Taylor Gabriel (18) leaps over Detroit Lions linebacker Nick Bellore (43) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

This was posted on Tuessday, September 26, 2017 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

NFL ratings week three were up about three percent over the same week in 2016. It’s hard to discern what that means after all the Trump-fueled National Anthem controversy this past weekend.

Ratings are often contingent on particular match ups. Viewership was up year over year on the national CBS games Sunday and on ESPN’s “Monday Night Football” (Dallas Cowboys beating the Arizona Cardinals) but down on Fox during the day and on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” featuring the Oakland Raiders vs. the Washington Redskins.

The NFL has been seeing ratings fall off in the wake of bad publicity regarding concussions and CTEs, the Colin Kaepernick “taking a knee” maelstrom and for a time last year, competition with the 2016 election. In the first week of this season, the league saw a 12 percent drop in ratings, which was followed by a 15 percent fall off week two, according to Nielsen. And NFL ratings were down eight percent overall in 2016-17 vs. 2015-16.

Locally, it’s difficult to to do an apples-to-apples comparison of Falcons ratings three games into the season because last year, the second game was on Monday night and this year, the second game was featured Sunday night.

The Sunday night Falcons/Packers game nine days ago drew a 24.8 household rating and a 44 share on NBC while the afternoon game this past Sunday on Fox 5 brought in about a 22 in household rating with a 49 share. As the game neared its wild end and a Falcons victory, viewership peaked at about a 26. The Falcons opening win September 10 vs. the Chicago Bears drew a 20 rating and 36 share average, down from opening day a year earlier vs. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, which brought in a 21.4 rating and 42 share.


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