NFL ratings on decline

Dalton Kemper, Staff Writer

The United States’ most popular sport for decades may have actually reached its peak, as the ratings have been declining this season. The NFL has been top dog when it comes to professional sports for years by a long shot. But, the reasons for this drop are pretty obvious. The length of games, the presidential election, concussions and the Chicago Cubs are behind its decline.
Today, we want things as fast as possible. Basketball and soccer are gaining popularity in the U.S., while the NFL and MLB are on the decline. The average time of an NBA game is 2 hours and 20 minutes and the average for soccer games is 2 hours and 10 minutes. NFL games are nearly a whole hour longer than both, averaging 3 hours and 12 minutes. People today simply have a hard time wanting to sit down for that long and watch a football game. This year also held a pretty important event: the presidential election.
Most debates and political events are held on Sundays, which is the day NFL games are played. Considering the two candidates this year were must-watch television, it was easy for football fans to be drawn away from the NFL and turn to debates. Also, everyone wanted to know who to vote for, so they had to watch these debates.
Another reason viewers could stray from football is the danger to the players. CTE is a recently discovered condition caused by repeated concussions, and it certainly has caused some fans to turn away. Concussions are common for NFL players; in fact, they subject themselves to them every week. The symptoms can lead to violence, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Therefore, most fans may not be willing to watch or even support their kids playing the sport.
Lastly, something happened this year that hadn’t happened in 108 years. Everyone knows that the Chicago Cubs won the World Series this year for the first time since 1908. Any casual sports fan who would usually watch football on Sunday nights might now decide to watch the Cubs’ Sunday playoff games. Game 5 of the World Series topped Sunday Night Football, and this World Series had more viewers than ever. Game 7 of the World Series was the most-watched baseball game ever.
All these variables certainly have combined to contribute the NFL ratings drop, but now that the election and World Series are over, the ratings may be back up. Either way, the NFL has serious problems to address with their lengthy games and combatting CTE.

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