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Despite Ratings Issues, NFL Ad Revenue Up in September

While there is concern that ratings are down for NFL broadcasts, advertising revenue continues to be strong, according to the latest figures from Standard Media Index.

According to SMI, in game ad revenues from NFL games increased 2% to $513 million in September.

As TV’s highest rated franchise, the health of NFL ratings is crucial to the networks that pay big bucks for the rights to broadcast games.

SMI notes that one way network are squeezing revenue out of their NFL broadcast s stuffing more ads into them. The research company is a 2% increase in the commercial load in NFL games. If a fan watched every game in the month, they saw 15 minutes more commercials than in 2016.

The networks are also using NFL games to make up for audience shortfalls in other programming. Make-goods, also known as audience deficiency units, represented 20% of the spots in NFL games in September, up from 13% a year ago.

Unite prices for 30-second spots up 7% across all networks, averaging $515,000.

NBC’s Sunday Night Football spots are up to $717,100, from $705,000. Fox spots are up to $553,000 from $550,400, CBS spots are up to $496,400, from $438,900.

On cable, unit rates were down slightly, with spots on ESPN going for $304,700, down from $316,600 a year ago and NFL Network spot at $190,400, down from $191,100.

SMI said NFL Network’s NFL game revenue was up 95% because it aired an additional game compared to last year.

CBS aired two fewer games, compared to a year ago, so revenue was down 23%.

NBC revenue was up 12% because of higher rates and additional ad loads.

Fox was up 8% as it aired one more national game in September.

ESPN revenue was up 4% as it added spots to offset lower prices.

SMI gets its spending and price data directly from the trafficking computer at media buying agencies representing about 60% of all spending.