NFL Opening Night Ratings Tank, Likely 10-Year Low

The NFL is back, but the story reads ugly. According to Deadline, opening night is looking at a 10-year low.

In early numbers, the Chiefs win scored a 5.2 among adults 18-49 and 16.4 million viewers between 8-11 p.m. ET. While the number will adjust some upward later to 11:30 p.m., right now it’s a 16.1% drop. In fast affiliates, last night fell the same 16.1%.

There are several reasons for the large drop. Yesterday morning, I ranked the reasons why I expected a decline:

Though the NFL actually kept wokeness to a minimum, football fans didn’t give it the chance. It was too late. Fans heard the chatter, saw what happened with Drew Brees, and knew social justice would take priority pregame. Americans expected the players to kneel, thus they avoided finding out.

This number is alarming. Patrick Mahomes is the best show in sports, the Chiefs are a thrill ride. If that combination can’t get fans to ignore the exhausting nonsense, few games will.

Point 4 is worth monitoring. Odds are Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson drew well over 3 million viewers last night. The awful product that was the Lakers-Rockets game likely wasn’t a factor.

Check back to Outkick for all ratings news. Unlike the rest of the sports media, we don’t pick-and-choose when viewership is covered.

I can already see Bomani Jones, Dan Le Batard, and the rest of ESPN throwing out the topic script to cover the NFL’s rough night.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.


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  1. Meh so many more enjoyable things to do. Sadly for sports viewership, COVID-19 has provided folks the opportunity to find other hobbies and interests. All of these woke athletes can thank CNN, MSESPN and the DNC.

  2. What does “Though the NFL actually kept wokeness to a minimum” mean? I didn’t watch last night but sounds like it included:

    1) Black national anthem(whatever that is)
    2) A pregame moment of silence dedicated to the ongoing fight for equality in our country
    3) Texans staying in locker room like cowards during the real national anthem
    4) Social justice messages on the field
    5) Celebrating lowlifes by putting their names on helmet pads

    So if that’s keeping it to a minimum then what’s moderate or maximum? It seems like some of the Outkick writers are suffering fatigue fighting back against these BLM morons and starting to accept some of this garbage.

  3. It’s no mystery why ratings are down i mean all that pre game bs by a bunch of overpaid self indulgent cry babies btw i didn’t watch just grabbed a little on youtube what a disaster. Most law abiding Americans aren’t down with celebrating these criminal types every week seems like some player is busted for something whatever happened to honor and integrity National Felon League bye bye.

  4. The Tv ratings for Sports at this time should be off the charts. It’s all they got. I find it ironic that they all dipped their big toe into the division of this country that the ratings for all leagues is waayyy down. We are suppose to be 1 NATION UNDER GOD. Thanks to all the athletes and the radical left this country has erased 70 years of progress. MLK is rolling over in his grave.

    Just joined the VIP CLUB. Great job Clay for snagging Whitlock! He’s the main reason I joined. You damn sure ain’t pretty enough alone to get my money.

  5. Who saw this coming. Two functioning eyes could have picked up on it. F the NFL. I am completely out. Will only know the results from web viewing and Clay’s show. Honor those who should be called out. Some criminal cat in a hospital bed – maybe not. A 9/11 responder would be great.

  6. I’ve spent literally hundreds of Sundays — watching the NFL until I was bleary eyed … and wanting more. I have practically sustained the the eye drop industry all by myself.

    That ends on Sept. 13, 2020. I’ll now spend Sunday afternoons working out — and listening to
    old time rock and roll — Bob Seger, the Eagles, Buddy Holly — plus some great Motown and my revered long version of “Heard it through the Grapevine.”

    However, I will turn on the tube to see Tiger and Dustin and Rory battling it out for the Green Jacket and “golf supremacy.”

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