The NFL’s Week 4 saw yet another ratings decline, according to the Nielsen company, amid calls from fans and conservatives to boycott the league over player’s anthem protests.
The fourth week had the smallest audience of the season so far, the firm said on Tuesday. The nationally televised games averaged 14.2 million viewers—down from 14.8 million viewers for Week 3, The Associated Press reported.
Last month, President Donald Trump told the audience at a rally in Alabama last month that NFL players who protest by disrespecting the national anthem should be “fired.” He also fired off a series of tweets, saying that “ratings are down” due to the anthem protests, which were triggered last season by former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who claimed to be protesting “police brutality” and “racial injustice.”
Last week, Fox’s Sean Hannity added his voice to the growing chorus of people calling to boycott NFL games.
Deadline reported this week that the Week 4 “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the Washington Redskins on Oct. 2 saw a decline in ratings from the previous week.
Citing Nielsen, Deadline said that “the Chiefs’ 29-20 victory over the Washington Redskins snared 11.9 million viewers and a 4.3 rating among adults 18-49.”
That means a 16 percent drop in the key 18-49 demographic, and a 13 percent overall decline from the previous week’s game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals.
Chiefs players Marcus Peters and Ukeme Eligwe sat on the bench during the national anthem for that game. The other players on both teams stood for the anthem.
According to Adweek, the NFL is still dominating the social media airwaves despite a downturn in TV ratings.
“NFL games once again accounted for the entire top 10 list of televised sports events, led by the Dallas Cowboys‘ victory over the visiting Arizona Cardinals on ESPN’s Monday Night Football, which totaled 8.984 million interactions across Facebook and Twitter,” the publication said, referring to last week’s game.