Efforts like “Boycott the NFL,” which is a Facebook group with tens of thousands of angry football fans who are boycotting the NFL while players are kneeling for the anthem seem to have already had an effect on NFL ratings.
The movement, combined with a growing amount of negative press in both print and media, have scored a victory against the NFL — even on the heels of doing their first live stream of a game through Amazon Prime, which by all accounts should have boosting ratings tremendously.
There were weather issues, national anthem protest concerns and a helmet-to-helmet hit from the Chicago Bears’ Danny Trevathan that put Green Bay Packers receiver Davante Adams in the hospital last night on the season kickoff of CBS’ Thursday Night Football.
Despite all that, and a 47-minute delay after the first quarter due to lightning, Green Bay beat the Bears 35-14 at Lambeau Field. The weather couldn’t slow the Packers down once the game restarted and, with players and fans linking arms in unity, no one took an increasingly controversial knee last night during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
However, it still was not a good result for CBS and the NFL as the matchup went late and delivered 9.9/18 in metered market ratings. That’s down 13% from the 2016 TNF opener on CBS and NFL Network when the New York Jets beat the Buffalo Bills 37-31. In the first of five TNFs that CBS has this year, last night’s game was shown on NFL Network and made its live debut on Amazon Prime.
On a night of no competition from the other nets and with the matchup being shown live on Twitter, last year’s September 15, CBS kickoff game ended up with 15.4 million viewers and a 5.4/21 rating among adults 18-49. The start of the third season of TNF on the House of Moonves, those 2016 numbers were a 27% and 29% fall, respectively, from the 2015 TNF debut on CBS and NFL Network.
As for Thursday’s overnight numbers, the latest decline comes as the league, broadcasters and cable networks are biting already chewed nails over last year’s ratings and what could be coming down the line.
Also, here’s the official “I Proudly Stand For The Anthem” t-shirt (we have hoodie and v-neck options, too!) that has part of the proceeds going to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans!