NFL Ratings Slump Worsens As ESPN Forced To Slash $80 Million In Salary Costs

As the NFL continues to try to address the ongoing civil war between Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Commissioner Roger Goodell, not to mention the intermittent hostile fire from the White House, viewers are increasingly deciding they've had enough and are abandoning professional football viewership altogether.  As the NY Post points out today, the embattled league saw ratings dip 6.3% in Week 11 meaning 1 million fewer people tuned in to see players take a knee during the national anthem versus last year.

The TV audience for NFL games steepened its slide in Week 11, losing 1 million viewers versus last year’s season-to-date average.


The 6.3 percent slump — worsening from comparable declines of 5.6 to 5.7 percent during the previous three weeks — plagued a week whose off-the-field drama made gridiron tackling seem almost tame by comparison.


After starting 11.8 percent behind last year’s TV audience for NFL games in Week 1, league viewership had either held its own or narrowed the gap through Week 8.


The 6.3 percent shortfall in Week 11 reflects an average viewership of 14.9 million for the NFL’s 68 national telecasts this year versus 15.9 million for the season-to-date in 2016.


Meanwhile, the ratings dip, combined with massive subscriber losses (see: ESPN Lost 15,000 Subscribers A Day In October), has taken a huge toll on ESPN which Yahoo News reports will have to cut some $80 million in salary costs to offset their plunging top line. 

ESPN is poised to slash an estimated $80 million in salaries and other costs in coming weeks, sources tell Sporting News.


The third round of layoffs in two years at the Disney-owned sports network is expected to come down after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Sporting News broke the news that ESPN planned to lay off up to 60 people in late November and early December. Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated followed up with a report that said 100 positions could be impacted.


ESPN lost a whopping $1 billion in affiliate revenue after dropping 13 million subscribers in just six years, according to the SportsBusiness Journal. Sports insiders agree ESPN overpaid for the NFL's "Monday Night Football" ($1.9 billion annually) and the NBA ($1.4 billion a year). During 2016, ESPN's prime-time viewership fell 19 percent, according to the SBJ. Rather than driving Disney's profits, ESPN has been dragging them down, spooking Wall Street analysts.


Meanwhile, ESPN management threw money at many anchors, analysts and reporters whose contracts were up in recent years to stop them from jumping to FS1 and other competitors. Some lost those high-paid TV gigs this spring. But ESPN is still on the hook to pay their full salaries until they get a new job elsewhere. Not many have over the past six months. Given the length of some of these expensive deals, not many will in the future, according to Awful Announcing.


"ESPN is dealing with three simple math problems. They have fewer subscribers than they planned for. They have higher costs than they planned for. They lower ratings than they hoped for," said one source.

Perhaps it's time for the NFL to admit that while most Americans can agree that professional football is really fun to watch, roughly half of them are going to disagree with whatever political stance its players decide to cram down their throats during maybe best to just stick to football.


knukles Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:52 Permalink

See, this is what happens when some feeble minded oligarchs begin to figure they "made football" what it is.No silly, the fans made football what it is.And the fan wanted football to escape all the political crapAnd you jammed politics down his throat.What the fuck did you expect?There are gonna be two leaguesA football league that will surviveA negro protest league that doesn't have the fans to carry it.Just sayin'Anybody but me notice the left's running out of spokes people.

knukles IridiumRebel Thu, 11/23/2017 - 11:58 Permalink

So there is one bit of recompense, almost an amend.Surfing the channels, I've noticed that in hiding the empty stands the camera are on the field the whole time!  Like there's a game being played!  And lots and lots of closeups.  Good viewing.Well that's what the telly looked like back in the 50's and early 60's before the circus came to town.And yet, commentators still are wearing colored ribbons, etc.They don't understand that their trade is football.Period end of fucking conversation.Goodell will be disemboweled by the team owners before this is all over.I mean FFS folks, his job was to PROTECT owner investment.  

In reply to by IridiumRebel

Bes jbvtme Thu, 11/23/2017 - 12:55 Permalink

remind me again how making a statementagainst the fucking POLICE STATEis bad thing?------fucking pussies around here can't give creditto people willing to risk itall to bring attentionto Police Brutality, Police Militarism,and the Prison Industrial Complex-----I guess trump is too busy not sword dancing with the Saudis, not kissing Israel's ass, not pumping the MIC, not bending over for Wall Street, and ending the war on cash, civil asset forfeiture, and shutting down oligopolies........oh wait, nm.  no wonder morons need an "escape"a safe spacefucking snowflakeshahahahaha!   

In reply to by jbvtme

overbet IH8OBAMA Thu, 11/23/2017 - 15:28 Permalink

There are a lot of dindus nowadays, but look at guys like Michael Jordan. As fierce as they come at the game, but a complete gentleman. Not one of these protestors are close to the athlete he was, yet he didnt act entitled at all. He made a difference off the court by cutting checks and donating his time. All these losers today need to take a note from his playbook.

In reply to by IH8OBAMA

Bumpo Bes Thu, 11/23/2017 - 13:42 Permalink

Is it a protest against the Police State? If it is, then the noble kneelers are very misguided. The popo wants nothing to do with the inner city any longer, because it just aint worth it. There! You got your wish. No more "police brutality". Work it out for yourselves, homeboy. If you ask me, its identity politics run amok, basically declaring Whitey racist bigots. That's what I see. It's not about the flag, that's for sure.. 

In reply to by Bes

Guderian Handful of Dust Fri, 11/24/2017 - 04:37 Permalink

Same in Yoorope with football: mostly niggers and other trash cashing in millions here for doing the 'swallow act'; pretending to have been fouled and hurt. When not awarded for their anti-sportsman behaviour, these parasites yell and wail and wave, insisting on their obvious cheats.I have come to believe, that this is all about putting 'immigration' as sth enriching on tv all night and all weekend, until there's sufficient of this garbage shoved down our brains.German Migrational Team

In reply to by Handful of Dust

Lynn Trainor Bes Thu, 11/23/2017 - 18:13 Permalink

"remind me again how making a statement against the fucking POLICE STATE is bad thing?"Easy, I'll remind you.  Cuz you are stealing from your employer and the fans who had nothin to do with what you are protesting about.  Protest, parade your personal views, on your own time and dime.  You owe your employer respect and what he hired you for.  You are cheating your employer and your fans!  That's a bad, very unfair thing!

In reply to by Bes

edotabin Gap Admirer Thu, 11/23/2017 - 13:18 Permalink

It depends upon whom you ask. Those wishing to inject politics into it would argue that cheerleaders objectify and degrade women.All I know is that football is a retarded sport, played by mostly retarded people and watched by those that never were able to understand that professional sports are nothing more than a distraction/misdirection. Getting heavily involved in stupid things like football should be a clear indication as to how empty and meaningless their lives are.If people have any brains, they will completely stop watching any and all professional sports and will most definitely stop buying tickets and merchandise.Draining the swamp starts by looking in the mirror and asking the tough questions.   

In reply to by Gap Admirer

veritas semper… Gap Admirer Thu, 11/23/2017 - 13:34 Permalink

Low IQ,violent ,arrogant pricks,lifted to fame and glory and money because of the insouciance[sic!] of the American public. Like Hollywood "celebrities",fashion ,music ones.All Satanists,bowing to the One Eyed Baphomet(Dajjal).I could never understand this fascination for this sport.I do not understand and like American football. especially with these repulsive players.I

In reply to by Gap Admirer

IridiumRebel Dutti Thu, 11/23/2017 - 12:11 Permalink

I’m a teacher and one of my students placed his knee upon a chair in a quasi stance for it during the pledge. I showed him a pic of a soldier with his legs missing and told him that was “taking a knee”. He stands now.

And no, I’m not rah rah war. Yes, all wars are banker fueled, but some dumbass from the sticks decides to serve he/she/it at least gets my respect for trying to do something good if only misdirected.

In reply to by Dutti

83_vf_1100_c Mr Hankey Thu, 11/23/2017 - 15:45 Permalink

  A bit early to be very drunk and raving at the moon. To each their own. Another holiday uninvited to a family meal. So sad. Luckily there is a local diner for you serving up turkey and mashed.  Wild Turkey does not qualify as the main dish. You remind me of my 6'4" tin foil hat wearing bro in law. You absolutely can count on him at some point during the meal ranting loudly about something and then standing and ranting trying to use his size to intimidate. At this point I push back from the table and thank the wife's parents for dinner and leave. Took me twice to figure out this is his norm and I no longer go there if he will be in attendance. Sad but life is too short to willingly submit to bullying whackjobs.  Dinner at home today with the wife and two of my 3 sons. Son #3 is stuck driving loads in West Texas to well heads. Sucks but overtime and he is all about stackong money so he can start up his own biz.

In reply to by Mr Hankey