The real reason why football viewership is plummeting


The Times reports that viewership of football games is way down, by 12% in just one year. There are a number of reasons offered; the horror of head injuries; the lack of patriotism of some players, and the oversaturation of the market with a greater number of games.
But when I looked at the comments in the Times article, the biggest gripe was with the commercials.

Incredibly, an average NFL game has only 11 minuts of gameplay; only 11 minutes! It also has 20 commercial breaks on average with more than 100 ads.

In a typical game, there are 63 minutes of commercials, 15 minutes of replays, 67 minutes of players "standing around", 36 minutes of shots of the coach, crowds, and cheerleaders... and 11 minutes of actual gameplay.

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Perhaps the game hasn't changed so much as people's patience has. With DVR's and sevices like Hulu and Netflix which offer the ability to be free of commercials, it seems to me that people don't have the patience that they used to to sit through hours of inaction just to get a few minutes of entertainment. As a person who doesn't watch football, I'm astonished to learn that there is anyone out there who will watch a television for three hours to only get 11 minutes of entertainment.

Here's a few comments from Times readers, who, commenting on a non-political subject, are oddly rational:

steve

The NFL has had problems for awhile and there is no surprise viewers are doing something else with their time:

- Too many ads during games. Too many dumb ads.

- Too many bad calls by refs who have taken over the game. Replay is a disaster. Games run too long. Too much mindless chatter by TV announcers.

- Too many wife beaters, dog abusers, violent criminals; too many crooks and shady characters playing the game.

- The contretemps over the national anthem and player protests against police has alienated a lot of fans.

Packard

I suspect ideological insularity among the NFL hierarchy, the MSM, and their sponsors is causing them to miss the dead elephant decaying in their living room.

Spoiled, millionaire quarterback, Colin Kaepernick and his movement to disrespect the National Anthem, the American flag, and other institutions embedded deeply in this country may not disturb the NFL's biggest decision makers.

Adirondax

Maybe, just maybe the concussion data that is out there has in fact started to turn viewers off.

It's pretty obvious that the NFL is little more than a gladiatorial sport in which some player on the the field gets concussed on virtually every single "play."

Janissa Balcomb

There are so many commercials that break up the game, you completely lose the continuity of the action. One play - commercial - one play - multiple commercials - a couple plays - more commercials. By the time a drive ends, I've practically forgotten how it started and am totally bored.



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