New York, NY – The National Football League’s (NFL) season opener had the lowest ratings in 10 years for the first game of the season.
Thursday night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Atlanta Falcons delivered television ratings that were down eight percent from the first game of the season in 2017.
NBC reported that the game drew a 13.4 overnight rating, giving it the lowest ratings for a season-opening game telecast since 2008, according to Fox News.
Analysts claim that ratings were low because the 2008 New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins season opener was moved up to 7 p.m. to accommodate U.S. Senator John McCain’s acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention.
The 2018 Thursday night opener was the fifth-lowest in the 16-telecast history of the game.
Nike aired its new controversial commercial featuring ex-NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the second half of the Eagles-Falcons game, according to NBC Sports.
The shoe company has made Kaepernick the face of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. Kaepernick started the player protests during an exhibition game in 2016 by kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem.
The Sept. 6 game’s low ratings continued a two-year decline in television viewership that has coincided with the National Anthem protests.
President Donald Trump has been criticizing the NFL for their handling of the players kneeling since the campaign trail in the fall of 2016. He weighed in on Sunday after the ratings were revealed.
“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade,” President Trump tweeted. “If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!”
President Trump also criticized Nike for choosing Kaepernick as the focal point of their ad campaign.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!” Trump tweeted on Sept. 5.
No players knelt during the first game of the NFL season, although two took a seat on the bench close to the end of the National Anthem.
Kaepernick sent his thanks to Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson via Twitter because he is no longer allowed on any NFL team’s sidelines, WPVI reported.