Sports Ratings are Taking a Hit


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Lots of professional sports have lost viewers during the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Sports ratings have dropped to a significant low since they began restarting in the summer. But why is that? You would think that in the middle of a pandemic with people stuck in their homes that everyone would be tuning in to watch sports return. Well that isn’t the case. In fact, almost every major sport has taken at least a little hit on their ratings. This includes the NFL, which has kept their viewership steady but are struggling to get views on days like Thursday Night Football.

On the other hand, the NBA and NHL’s viewings have had a surprising decline. The 2020 NBA Finals recorded 5.6 million viewers for the close out game 6, becoming the lowest rated Finals series in history. Game 1 of the NBA Finals didn’t even have as much viewership as the NBA’s 2019 Christmas games. The NHL Stanley Cup Finals audience decreased a massive 61% from last year, also making it the least spectated since 2007. The MLB and MLS have also been subject to a reduction in views. Other events such as the U.S. Open tennis and golf tournaments have experienced notable drops

Those are just some of the sports taking hits. Many Sports TV analysts suspect that too many sports being available to watch has caused people to pick one sport over others. Professional leagues are usually scheduled at times of the year where they don’t cross each other, but now we’ve had almost all sports playing on the same day. Another case for decrease in interest could be because there are no fans present at the games. Live attendance makes up a huge part of watching games at home. Some suggest that people have been preoccupied with other activities in their stay at home lifestyle. 

There is also a growing idea that people believe that sports have become “too political.” President Trump claimed ratings for the NFL and NBA were down because players chose to kneel for the national anthem. A poll conducted by Harris Insights & Analytics surveyed that 39% of self-identified fans stopped watching games because “the league has become too political.” 28% stated games were boring without fans, and 19% said they didn’t like the NBA’s affiliation with China. 

These statistics give us a slight insight into why sports ratings have been falling down. But, this may be the last amount of sports we get for a while, with the Covid-19 Pandemic still going strong, many leagues are questioning if they can continue games into the future.