Tom Brady on NFL TV Ratings Decline: 'I Don't Follow It Like I Used To'

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 1, 2018

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady answers questions during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018, in Minneapolis. The Patriots are scheduled to face the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL Super Bowl 52 football game Sunday, Feb. 4. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

There are many theories on the decline of television ratings for the NFL, but Tom Brady noted that the problem could simply be an oversaturation of things for people to do. 

Speaking to Jim Gray at the Milken Institute on Monday, Brady admitted even he doesn't follow the league as much, while providing some context for the ratings decline, via Rich Greenfield of BTIG:

Rich Greenfield @RichBTIG

Why are NFL TV Ratings Down? Tom Brady says: "There’s so much for us to consume…I hate to say it, but I don’t follow it like I used to because there are so many other things to follow…I think that it’s still doing better than every other program out there” #MIGlobal https://t.co/zbWBLOzz52

"And it's just what can grab your attention," the New England Patriots quarterback explained, via Daniel Roberts of Yahoo Sports. "There's a lot more competition today than there's ever been, I think, especially with social media, for people to consume information or to consume content. The NFL has had a great product, people love watching the game. I think it's still doing better than every other program out there. But compared to a time when there was less things to do, it doesn't live up to those standards."

According to Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated, NFL ratings were down nine percent in 2017 from the previous season.

Of course, football remains well ahead of the field as Brady indicated. Sunday Night Football accounted for eight of the top 10 primetime telecasts between September and December, with the World Series taking the only other two spots.

There are several issues causing the decline in ratings, with many people claiming they were boycotting the league. The protests during the national anthem caused some to tune out of the league, including those both offended by the protests and those supporting Colin Kaepernick and others.

Meanwhile, Derek Thompson of The Atlantic argued that cord-cutting and declining ratings across all television is a bigger issue.

The recent NFL draft received its highest ratings ever, thanks mostly to the inclusion of network channels in its coverage.

As Brady noted, however, there are more entertainment options than ever before, from social media to streaming services. A decline in interest in football appears to be a reasonable side effect of the changing media landscape.


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