For Pete's Sake

Chiefs are bucking trend for NFL television ratings

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was congratulated by Albert Wilson after Kelce scored a first-quarter touchdown during Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.
Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was congratulated by Albert Wilson after Kelce scored a first-quarter touchdown during Thursday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. jsleezer@kcstar.com

There are a lot of theories for the decline in television ratings for NFL games this season.

Some have blamed it on the protests during the national anthem, others think it’s a proliferation of game days, and one theory is the hurricanes that hit the U.S.

Whatever reason, the numbers are down.

The Sporting News reported that through Week 7, the number of viewers for NFL games had declined 5.1 percent from last year (15.87 million average to 15.1 million). The drop from 2015 is steeper: down 18.7 percent (18.35 million viewers through Week 7).

But the decline is not being felt everywhere.

Sports Illustrated took a look at ratings for each NFL team (except the Chargers who moved to LA) and found that 25 have lower local numbers than in 2016. That includes a drop of more than 5 percent for the Cowboys, Patriots and Steelers.

However, the Sports Illustrated story notes that three teams have improved by more than 5 percent. Guess which team made that list?

Yep, the Chiefs. The others: the Lions and Buccaneers.

In particular, the numbers have been strong in Kansas City for the Chiefs’ prime-time games.

Two examples: the season opener at New England drew a 35.5 rating, which was second highest in the nation. And the “Sunday Night Football” game at Houston had a 43.5 rating in Kansas City, which was the second-best ever for a Sunday night game among viewers in KC.

The Chiefs’ five-game winning streak to start the season undoubtedly helped their numbers. But whatever the case, the Chiefs are bucking the trend in the NFL.

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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