‘Sunday Night Football’ on NBC hit a ratings low last week, dropping by more than one-third since last year to its lowest viewership since 2011, according to Sports Media Watch.
Sunday’s NFL game between the Seattle Seahawks and the Arizona Cardinals averaged a 7.9 rating with 14.31 million viewers, beating Game 5 of the World Series, which Sports Media Watch notes is a decline of 35% from the same time last year, when ‘Sunday Night Football’ also went head-to-head with a World Series game.
These were also the lowest ratings for ‘Sunday Night Football’ in a Week 7 game since the New Orleans Saints played the Indianapolis Colts in 2011.
Sports Media Watch notes that ‘Sunday Night Football “has now failed to crack a 9.0 rating in four straight weeks, the longest such streak since ESPN last held rights in 2005. Keep in mind it faced two NBA Finals games, one World Series game, and a Game 7 of the [National League Championship Series] during that stretch. All four games declined by double-digits.”
Despite the ratings decline, ESPN executive Burke Magnus told Sports Business Journal earlier this month that “this is not really a year for anybody to get too hung up on ratings,” noting that “NFL content is still incredibly powerful. These are massive audiences. We take a lot of solace in the fact that NFL games are the most powerful content on television and people continue to show up in huge numbers. We’re not going to get all twisted up about ratings.”