NFL Sunday night ratings down amid kneeling protest
The NFL’s ratings took a knee Sunday night.
In the preliminary metered-market results, NBC Sports coverage of Sunday Night Football was down about 10 percent versus last year’s comparable matchup.
The Oakland Raiders vs. Washington Redskins game averaged an 11.6 rating, 20 share in metered-market households. That’s also down from the first two games of the season, last week’s Falcons vs. Packers game and Sept. 10’s Giants at Dallas game.
BUT the game was also a blowout. Viewership peaked during the second quarter and then dropped after Washington led 21-0 less than five minutes into the third quarter.
Also, CBS touted some gains for its Sunday daytime NFL coverage — at least earlier in the day. The network’s regional football coverage at 1 p.m. was up 11 percent, though its afternoon national game coverage was basically flat.
The results come amid a day of sitting and kneeling protests by NFL players after President Trump’s attack on protesting players — even the cast of Star Trek: Discovery posted a taking-a-knee photo. But while one might easily assume Sunday primetime fans switched off en masse because of all the controversy, these still-strong numbers plus the blowout factor don’t lend themselves to any clear conclusions.