By Steve Kelly
As the NFL playoffs are two days away from beginning, the bad news has been certified:
Football fans have voted with their eyeballs!
Viewership for NFL during the regular season dipped once again in 2017 — and by a larger percentage than last year. The average audience across the NFL’s broadcast partners — CBS, Fox, NBC, ESPN and NFL Network — dropped 10%, according to USA TODAY Sports.
While 33 of the top 50 TV programs since Week 1 in September were NFL games, this season’s decline follows an 8% decline in 2016.
ESPN, which included its streaming audience, had the lowest drop among the four networks at a 7.7% decline. Fox had a 9.1% drop, NBC dipped 10.4% and CBS fell 11.2% compared to 2016.
While the audience fell, NBC’s Sunday Night Football still is on pace to be the most-watched prime time show for a record seventh year in a row. ESPN’s Monday Night Football dominated the key male demographic (ages 18-49) for all 16 of its broadcasts.
The Sunday afternoon broadcasts on Fox and CBS also easily outpaced competing programming.