RUSH: NFL ratings for Monday Night Football hit a new season low last night. “Just when some industry observers were beginning to think that it couldn’t get any worse for the NFL’s primetime ratings this year, it gets much, much worse.”
Last night was the Houston Texans and the Baltimore Ravens. The clash, the game, drew a 6.0 in metered markets. That’s the rating, not the share. That makes it the lowest rated Monday Night Football game of the year for both the NFL and ESPN. It makes Trump’s Twitter shot at the league this morning incredibly well timed and accurate. Did you see what the president tweeted?
“At least 24 players kneeling this weekend at NFL stadiums that are now having a very hard time filling up. The American public is fed up with the disrespect the NFL is paying to our Country, our Flag and our National Anthem. Weak and out of control!”
All of that said, ESPN still won the prime time last night, even though NFL ratings are hitting newer and newer lows. They’re still reaching the point here where they’re gonna have to do advertiser make-goods, either that or gonna have to refund money. A make-good is you run a free commercial or a series of free commercials until you have made up the value you charged.
If you’re gonna charge — just to use a number — if you’re gonna charge a million dollars a commercial, which it is not. I’m just making up an easy number to follow. If you’re gonna charge a million dollars per commercial based on X size audience, if the audience is a half million less, significantly less, then you’re gonna have to give some free commercials so that those eyeballs are reached. Either that or you’re gonna have to refund the money. They’re getting to that stage. I think they already have reached that stage where that’s now occurring. That’s never good.
There’s a piece in the Wall Street Journal today by Holman Jenkins Jr. as opposed to Holman Jenkins Sr. And Holman Jenkins Jr. says that the NFL has a lot to learn from corporate America. His point is — and I’m not even gonna get the piece and read it ’cause I don’t need to. His point is that a CEO with as many blunders as Roger Goodell would have been fired after the first one. In a publicly held company, a CEO with a nagging image problem that can’t be corrected has got to go. The corporation simply cannot overcome that. And he says in the case of Goodell, it’s not just one nagging thing; it’s been a series of things that haven’t been dealt with, starting with the Ray Rice domestic abuse boondoggle.
Remember, they tried to give Ray Rice two weeks, a two-week suspension and then the video hit with Ray Rice knocking his wife out cold in the elevator and dragging her out of the elevator in an Atlantic City casino. And when that was seen, Goodell, oops, oops, and they upped the suspension to six games. But despite all the pink shoes, the pink gloves and all that in October, it began a downward spiral. And then suspending some of your famous players, signature marquee players like Tom Brady. It’s been, in the words of Holman Jenkins Jr., it’s been one mess after another that have not been cleaned up.
And his point, there certainly is no way that in a publicly held corporation a CEO would be given a raise with all kinds of perks and benefits after this kind of stewardship. And his point is that the NFL doesn’t learn that, you know, even though it’s not publicly held, the commissioner unfortunately has become the face of the league, and that should never happen. The players should be the faces of the league. Of course, that’s problematic now too.
But regardless how you slice it, they’ve got huge problems. I’ll tell you what I did. I tuned in last night, Mr. Snerdley. You know, I haven’t watched much NFL this season at all because after the first series of flag protests, when I heard the players say why they were doing it, I’m sorry, it took all of the mystique that I had about the game out of it. It didn’t make me mad. It just saddened me. Because coupled with the concussion mess and the way the sports media is either purposefully or inadvertently attacking the league and the game, I realized this game’s never gonna be what it was. And it was big to me. I loved it, as you all know.
So I decided last night to tune in. I had some time, and I wasn’t particularly interested in the game, the teams playing. I mean, neither of ’em are lighting it up. And it wouldn’t matter to either one if they won or lost, which is the case in too many games this year, by the way.
But I have to be honest, I turned it on and there didn’t seem to be any pizzazz. There didn’t seem to be any excitement in anything, camera shots of the stadium, the actual action on the field, the play-by-play and color crew. The announcers sounded formulaic and stilted like it was all forced. I didn’t get a good vibe watching it. And don’t misunderstand, I’m not trying to run anything down. It just makes me sad. To me, it’s another venerable institution that’s being successfully attacked and taken down and is in the process of being destroyed or damaged greatly.