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The Election May Have Solved The NFL's Ratings Problems

The Election May Have Solved The NFL's Ratings Problems

It’s no secret that TV ratings have been on the decline in recent years. However, the ratings struggle for the NFL has caught sports fans and investors by surprise this year.

Heading into this past weekend, Monday Night Football ratings were down 24 percent this year, Sunday Night Football ratings were down 19 percent and Thursday night ratings had fallen 18 percent.

Those are certainly not the numbers that Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS), Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ: FOXA), Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ: CMCSA) and CBS Corporation (NYSE: CBS) were looking for when they shelled out a collective $5 billion for the rights to NFL content through 2021.

However, the latest ratings from this Sunday suggest that the NFL’s early-season ratings woes may have simply been a case of bad timing.

Comcast’s NBC announced that its Sunday night NFL broadcast of the Seattle Seahawks-New England Patriots game drew a 14.3 rating, its highest week 10 rating in five years.

NBC wasn’t the only big winner this weekend. Fox also enjoyed a 21 percent boost in Sunday afternoon ratings compared to week 10 of 2015.

Why the big jump?

“I would really start with the election – I don’t think you have to look much deeper than that,” said Fox Sports vice president Mike Mulvihill.

If the first post-election data point is an indication of things to come, Mulvihill’s theory may be true and the NFL can breathe a huge sigh of relief.


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