NFL television audience figures down again in 2017

US television audience ratings for American football’s NFL fell 9.7 per cent in the 2017 season, marking the second consecutive year of decline. 

According to audience measurement company Nielsen, 14.9 million people tuned in to watch a typical NFL game, which is 1.6 million less than the average of 16.5 million in the 2016 season. 

The decline follows an eight-per-cent drop in television audience figures in the 2016 season.

According to ESPN, both James Murdoch, chief executive of media company 21st Century Fox, and Sean McManus, chairman of the CBS Sports division of the CBS network, cited the proliferation of games as the main reason behind the decline in audience.

However, Nielsen said that despite the overall drop in audience figures, 20 of the 30 highest-rated shows on television in 2017 were American football games.

In February, Nielsen also said Super Bowl LI attracted the smallest audience in the US for the NFL showpiece for four years.