Donald Trump wants everyone to believe that player protests over the national anthem are negatively affecting the NFL's popularity, hitting the league in its most sensitive area of television ratings. As a whole, Week 3 of this year saw a three percent bump from last year's.
"Overall, according to the NFL, Week 3 ratings were slightly higher than Week 3 in 2016", CNN reported.
To come up with overnight ratings, Nielsen takes the percentage of households watching in 56 US markets and comes up with an overnight average - so an 11.6, for instance, means that 11.6% of households in those 54 markets tuned into the game on NBC on Sunday night.
During 'Monday Night Football, ' a lot of people were glued to the TV, but it wasn't just the game keeping their attention tonight.
What saw the biggest bump on Sunday was the pregame coverage on the networks, with CBS reporting a 33 percent increase in viewership for The NFL Today compared to last season. Trump acknowledged the popularity of the weekend's pregame shows in a tweet posted on Tuesday morning. The controversy could be bad news for television networks, if vast numbers of viewers decide to tune out all at once.
On a day when around 200 NFL players engaged in some form of protest against racial inequality in America by kneeling, sitting, locking arms, or raising a fist during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner, ' the league endured its worst ratings for Sunday Night Football this season".
Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who donated money to Trump's campaign, said he was "deeply disappointed" in the president on Sunday. Fox "addressed the subject in the same manner as its competitors", beginning their show with a "quick preview of the upcoming Week 3 games before heading immediately into Trump's comments (they did bleep the word "bitch") and statements and tweets from National Football League executives and players".
Generally, TV networks don't even bother showing the national anthem when it is played before the game.
An important note, however: these numbers do not yet include the number of people who watched football live streaming on computers and mobile devices.
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