Measuring the audience for sporting events should include the total audience numbers, not just the fans watching the live broadcast, George Pyne, Bruin Sports Capital founder and CEO, told CNBC on Friday.
NFL TV ratings were down 8 percent last year. That decline has worsened in the 2017 season: Ratings were down 12 percent in week one and 15 percent in week two. This could be attributed to the fact that fans are streaming games on digital platforms such as computers or iPads, instead of tuning in on TV.
Pyne isn’t sold that digital was the only reason for the decline. He said other factors were at play, including the fact that 2015 was a strong season. Still, he agrees that the way the audience is counted needs to change.
“You should measure everybody that watches – how they watch doesn’t matter. And that’s the future,” Pyne said on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” last week. “A lot of people are consuming content differently in this generation.”
Some big media players are already making the change: Disney announced that starting next week, ESPN will lump fans watching live and fans streaming into one number.
In April, Amazon bought the rights to the NFL’s streaming package for $50 million. The company will offer the games for free to its Amazon Prime subscribers around the world starting on Thursday night.
Mike Morris, Guggenheim Media Analyst, says there’s more to consider than just how people are tuning in.