Despite Declining Ratings and Protest Controversy, the NFL TV Ad Market Is as Strong as Ever

Advertisers are ready for some football

For much of the past decade, the NFL TV ad market was a bit like the housing bubble of the aughts. Each year, those companies with football rights could count on hefty double-digit increases in returns each year, while using the NFL’s robust ratings increases each year to leverage their network’s weaker-performing sports at the time, like baseball. “While your subconscious will tell you this can’t last forever, many of those who enjoyed the benefits of that housing craze and were flipping homes and taking profits never thought the party was going to end,” says Mark Evans, svp of advertising sales for Fox Sports. “So when the ratings did plateau and then decline somewhat over the last year and a half, everybody in town was like, wait a minute, this isn’t supposed to happen!”

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This story first appeared in the September 10, 2018, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.