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Ratings for the NFL Wild-Card Games Are Bad, Very Bad

Like the rest of the NFL’s 2020 season, the Wild Card games are suffering in the ratings, according to reports.

According to Sports Media Watch, “Bears-Saints led the NFL’s expanded six-game Wild Card weekend slate with a Nielsen-estimated 16.4 rating and 30.65 million viewers across CBS, CBS All-Access and Nickelodeon — down 15% in ratings and 13% in viewership from the same window last year (Seahawks-Eagles: 19.2, 35.12M) and down 17% and 15% respectively from 2019 (Eagles-Bears: 19.7, 35.89M). Those games aired on NBC.”

The game did deliver the largest TV audience since the last Super Bowl, but still trailed CBS’s Titans-Patriots Wild-Card game from last year, the site noted. Furthermore, “It was the least-watched Wild Card game in the late Sunday afternoon window since 2008 (Titans-Chargers: 26.63M) and the lowest-rated since at least 1998,” SMW wrote.

The Colts-Bills game earned 11.6 and 20.08 million but was the least-watched Wild Card game on any network since ABC’s Colts-Jets game in 2003 (19.66M).

ESPN also suffered a ratings collapse.

“ESPN averaged a 14.2 and 24.82 million for Ravens-Titans on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and Freeform — down 18% in both measures from Vikings-Saints on FOX last year (17.4, 29.93M) and down 8% and 2% respectively from Chargers-Ravens on CBS in 2019 (15.4, 25.38M). Compared to last year’s Wild Card game on ESPN/ABC — Bills-Texans on a Saturday afternoon — ratings fell 7% (from 15.2) and viewership 6% (from 26.34M),” the site reported.

While NBC’s Browns-Steelers averaged a 13.4 rating and 24.78 million viewers, there was no exact correlating game lat year. But NBC’s single Wild-Card game last year won a 19.2 rating and 35.12 million viewers.

NBC’s Tampa Bay-Washington game also suffered.

SMW added, “NBC also averaged an 11.5 and 21.37 million for Tampa Bay-Washington on Saturday night, down a third in ratings and 32% in viewership from last year on CBS (Titans-Patriots: 17.1, 31.42M), down 28% and 27% respectively from 2019 on FOX (Seahawks-Cowboys: 15.9, 29.38M) and the lowest rated Wild Card game on any network since at least 1998.”

The site also noted that Fox did the best. “FOX took top honors on Saturday with a 12.7 (-16%) and 23.96 million (-9%) for Rams-Seahawks, the network’s lowest-rated Wild Card game since at least 1998 and least-watched since 2008 (Giants-Buccaneers: 22.97M),” SMW reported.

Story cited here.

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