NFL ratings concerns continue to flare amid fluctuating viewership across broadcasts, but those concerns have not chased off advertisers, according to Standard Media Index.
Through September, ad spend during NFL live game broadcasts across all networks rose 2% from $504 million one year ago to $513 million. SMI did not include pre- and post-game coverage in its ad spending estimates. Ad loads across all NFL broadcasts also rose 2% during that time period.
SMI said that while revenue did increase slightly, there was also an increase in makegoods (or audience deficiency units) across all TV networks that air NFL games. In September last year, ADUs accounted for 13% of all spots, and in September this year, that figure rose to 20% of all spots.
But with the rise of average unit rates—up to $515,000 this year after averaging $482,000 last year—the increase in ADUs was somewhat offset and revenue rose about 2%.
During September, the NFL Network scored a 96% bump in revenue, up from $12 million to $23 million, thanks in part to airing one extra game this season. Meanwhile, CBS aired two fewer games in September and saw a 23% decrease in ad spend, despite an increase in unit costs.
NBC saw a 12% increase in revenue, up from $155 million in September last year to $174 million this year, thanks in part to a slightly greater commercial load and higher unit rates per game. Fox saw its revenue from NFL games grow by 8% thanks to airing an additional national game in 2017, and ESPN also increased its revenue by 4% in September as an increased commercial load offset a decrease in unit costs.