NFL Season Kickoff Draws 13% Fewer TV Viewers Than 2019 Amid Coronavirus And Protests


After a difficult offseason by which groups have struggled to regulate to the brand new coronavirus regular, soccer made a comeback with Thursday night time’s faceoff between the Kansas City Chiefs, the defending Super Bowl champions, and the Houston Texans, nevertheless, tv viewership was off 13% from final 12 months’s kickoff match to an estimated 19.three million viewers, in line with Nielsen.

Key Facts

On the intense aspect, NBC reported a 55% enhance over final 12 months in on-line streaming of the sport, and a document on-line viewers for a non-Super Bowl matchup. 

There are quite a lot of explanations for why viewership was down from final season’s opener between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears: given the delays to the NFL and NHL schedules as a result of pandemic, Thursday was the primary night that all the main sports activities leagues aired a recreation, so there was loads of competitors for viewership.

The NFL, like different sports activities leagues, has additionally acquired blowback from some who don’t approve of the gamers participating in social justice protests, together with the followers at Arrowhead Stadium who might be heard booing as gamers from each groups linked arms in an indication of unity with individuals combating for social justice throughout Thursday’s recreation.

Others have pointed to ongoing disasters within the U.S., just like the coronavirus pandemic, fires in California and up to date storms that hit the southeast as drawing individuals’s consideration away from sports activities.

The coronavirus and social distancing measures have additionally prevented individuals from tuning in from sports activities bars and different public locations, a well-liked pastime for a lot of Americans.

Key Background 

With American sports activities again in motion, leagues are taking many precautions and having athletes quarantined in “bubbles,” commonly screened for signs and examined regularly. It’s not all the time foolproof, with The NFL Players Association saying final month that 56 NFL gamers had examined constructive for the virus since July. Nearly 70 gamers opted out of enjoying this season altogether due to the pandemic. 

Further Reading

Football returns with 19.three million viewers on NBC (Associated Press)

NFL Season Kickoff Down From 2019 As 19.3M Tune In; Digital Numbers Up To Near Record – Update (Deadline)

NFL scores: Initial outcomes present decline for Ok.C.-Houston kickoff recreation (Yahoo)

NFL Says 67 Players Withdrew From 2020 Season Because Of Coronavirus (Forbes)

Carolina Panthers Cancel Practice, Reportedly ‘Social Justice Related’ (Forbes)

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