The National Football League is seeking to ease concerns about a sharp drop in TV ratings during the first month of the season, citing “unprecedented interest” in the presidential election as one of several reasons viewership is down.
Total NFL viewership through four weeks declined 11 percent from last year, with prime-time ratings taking the biggest hit, according to a memo signed by NFL senior executives Brian Rolapp and Howard Katz.
The NFL said “a confluence of events” is affecting ratings, including the election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton diverting viewers to cable news outlets.
The league discounted the notion that ratings have fallen because San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other players have refused to stand for the National Anthem to protest social injustice.
“We see no evidence that concern over player protests during the National Anthem is having any material impact on our ratings,” according to the memo.