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NFL has a long way to go to saturate the American market

Super Bowl LIII ratings were slightly down this year, and shows that the NFL still has room to grow interest in the biggest sporting event of the year.

The NFL isn’t nearly as big a deal as it thinks it is.

Although pro football remains the strongest property when it comes to gathering and holding a live TV/streaming audience, the NFL has a long way to go to truly saturate the American marketplace. That point becomes emphasized every year, when the final numbers emerge regarding Super Bowl viewership.

While it’s great that 100.7 million watched the game, the country has 325.7 million residents. So what were those people doing for four hours on a Sunday night in early February?

Obviously, they weren’t watching the Super Bowl. Which means that two out of every three Americans didn’t watch the game.

How can that be? Maybe I’m too far inside the football bubble, but everyone I know had a specific plan for viewing the Super Bowl, and everyone I know has that plan every year. Everyone. Family, friends, business colleagues, casual acquaintances, people I don’t like but act like I do, people who don’t like me but act like they do, everyone.

For me, the “best days of the year” hierarchy goes like this: Christmas, Thanksgiving, Super Bowl. How can two thirds of the country not even watch the game?

In fairness to the NFL, 149 million watched all or part of the game, so roughly half of the country tuned in. Still, more than half of the country didn’t.

At a time when the NFL is spending plenty of money to export the sport to other countries, maybe more of an effort should be made to sell football to Americans.