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NFL attendance hits a 15-year low

Drew Brees? Pats offense? Deshaun Watson? Mike Florio and Big Cat examine who is under the most pressure on Wild Card Weekend.

More people are watching the NFL on TV. Fewer people are watching the NFL in person.

According to David Broughton and Andrew Levin of Sports Business Daily, the NFL averaged 66,648 attendees at home games in 2019. That’s the lowest average since 2004.

The Cowboys averaged 90,929, leading the league for 11 straight seasons. Fifteen teams saw a decline in attendance, led by the Jaguars (8.7 percent drop), Raiders (7.6 percent) and Bengals (7.0 percent).

Two teams saw an increase of more than five percent. Washington’s audience grew by 7.3 percent (the stadium was still at less than 80 percent capacity), and the Bills have a 6.0-percent jump.

Several years ago, the league suspended the blackout policy, which blocked local broadcast of home games if all non-premium tickets weren’t sold. Despite efforts to improve the in-stadium experience, there’s no substitute for winning.

Attendance peaked in 2016, with 69,487 per game. In 2004, 66,328 attended each game, on average.