December 13, 2020 | 12:00 AM ET
Through the first 13 weeks of the season, TV and digital NFL ratings were down 7% across the broadcast and cable networks that carry games, according to Nielsen data. Viewership among men in the 18-49 and 25-54 age categories that advertisers target during games was down even more.
In response to declining ratings, TV networks are feeling the strains, as they are forced to restructure deals with advertisers to make up for the smaller audience, and their opportunity to make money off remaining games during the lucrative holiday season narrows. Some networks have even considered letting advertisers pay less for commercials during NFL games and other programming than they originally pledged.