If NFL execs expected the masses to tune in to Thursday night's season opener, they're going to be disappointed. The first look at ratings shows that viewership sank by double digits from last year's opener, reports Deadline. In ratings-speak, the game between the Chiefs and the Texans scored a 5.2 among the key advertising demographic of viewers age 18 to 49, with total viewership on track to be 16.4 million. Those figures might well be adjusted upward, but as of now, that represents a 16% drop in viewership from the 2019 Bears-Packers opener.
All kinds of factors might explain the drop, and Yahoo Sports runs through a bunch. They range from the big picture—fans who don't want to mix their sports with social activism—to lesser factors such as a less-than-scintillating matchup in Thursday night's game. (The defending champs Chiefs rolled out to a big lead and won 34-20.) On the other hand, advertisers appear to be on board, and the league had no trouble selling all its spots. (Before the game, fans booed during a "moment of unity.")