The Triumph of Football, as Told by TV Ratings


(disclosure- an NFL team is one of my clients)

Last night, the San Francisco Giants won the World Series, sweeping the Detroit Tigers. 

Despite an awesome playoffs, ratings were way down this year. A big part of that is due to smaller market teams getting further in the playoffs, but I feel like the US is becoming more football-oriented each year.

To investigate, I looked at Nielsen ratings for the 4 major sports championship (NBA Finals, Stanley Cup, Super Bowl, and World Series) over the last 25+ years (less for hockey). 

I thought Football would be running away with the ratings, but the Super Bowl has really just stayed stable in terms of ratings over the last few decades: the highest ratings in the time period were actually from 1986- when Da Bears shuffled their way to the Lombardi Trophy. Still, there has been a notable improvement in ratings over the last decade

MLB, on the other hand, has seen a steady loss of ratings since the mid-80s. The average World Series game rating is about half what it was when this happened. 

The NBA has also seen sliding interest, with a huge fall-off in viewership after the Michael Jordan Bulls broke up. It does seem like interest is picking back up though.

Here is the chart of all four sports. Sorry hockey- I don’t know enough about you to write anything interesting.

You can see the Super Bowl has always been more of an ‘event’ than the other sports finals. But even taking that into account, it is clear: we’re becoming more of a football country.