Lions skirting NFL's downward TV ratings spiral

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Lions attendance has dipped slightly.

Allen Park — Last year, prominent media analysts questioned whether there was a ceiling for NFL television ratings, which makes this season’s sharp downturn so surprising. According to multiple reports, NFL ratings are down 12 percent compared to the same time last year.

The decline has been attributed to many factors, primarily the presidential election, where the two debates have gone head-to-head with primetime games. There’s also the rise of social media, cable cord cutters and speculation many are tuning out in response to players around the league using the national anthem as a protest platform.

Whatever the reasons may be, the ratings decline hasn’t hit as strongly locally. Through five weeks, FOX is reporting 15.0 ratings for Lions games in the metro-Detroit market, down just 3.2 percent from the year before.

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It’s also worth noting, Lions games have netted an increased share, the percentage of TVs in use tuned to the game, 50 to 48. 
And despite coming last weekend on a three-game losing streak, Detroit’s victory over Philadelphia weekend drew a 15.8 rating and 54 share, both higher than last season’s average.

In addition to the slight ratings decline, Lions’ attendance is also slightly down. The team averaged 58,256 people their first two games at Ford Field, down from 61,347 last year. For what it’s worth, the team’s home-opening opponent, the Tennessee Titans, have been one of the league’s worst road draws in recent years.

If the attendance numbers don’t pick up, it would mark the fourth consecutive year home attendance has declined and the worst the Lions have drawn since 2010.

Twitter: @justin_rogers