NFL ratings are through the roof this year, as the recession keeps fans on the couch on Sunday afternoons...and Sunday nights and Monday nights. Ratings are at a 20-year high, with an average 17.2 million watching each game. “The NFL and television are actually getting the so-called ‘benefit’ of the recession,” an ex-CBS Sports exec tells the Washington Post. “People are making conscious decisions that their entertainment dollars are best spent watching NFL games free” on TV.
Since the Super Bowl, 11 of the 12 most-watched sporting events were NFL games, and last week’s Vikings-Packers game was the most-watched network program, period, since February's Academy Awards. “It’s been amazing to me,” says Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I think there’s been a shift in American culture, with people staying closer to home.” The flip side of course, is that ticket sales are down 2%, as are team merchandise sales.