‘Sunday Night Football’ Draws Worst Ratings in a Decade in 2017

NBC will not look back on 2017 with a sense of fondness, instead, they’ll remember it as the year in which they hit their lowest NFL ratings mark in a decade.

According to SportsBusiness Journal’s Austin Karp, Sunday Night Football averaged 18.2 million viewers, the lowest number of fans since 2008.

NBC averaged 18.2 million TV-only viewers this season for "Sunday Night Football" package, which is its lowest figure since 2008. Could still be TV's primetime king though. More details in SBD on Friday.

— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) December 28, 2017

Previous reports had already noted that this week’s Monday Night Football suffered its worst ratings since 2012. However, according to Karp, that’s just one example of a what was a very, very bad season for MNF:

ESPN also wrapped up 2017 averaging 10.8 million viewers for "Monday Night Football," which is the package's lowest figure on record. ESPN's previous low was 11.2 million in 2007. More in SBD tomorrow.

— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) December 28, 2017

Awful Announcing points out that if the ratings continue to decline, the next time the various networks return to the table to negotiate broadcast rights, the league could find itself losing billions as the networks seek to negotiate fees downward amid the massive loss of fans. The NFL is currently safe through the year 2022, but after that the current deals are done, and the networks will be ready to renegotiate.

There has already been much speculation that ESPN may cut its NFL rights expenses entirely. The networks are not alone in feeling the impact of lower ratings. Last year, because of fewer viewers, many NFL advertisers were awarded “make good” refunds for the advertising fees paid to the league.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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