Buried in Albert Breer’s column for MMQB this morning was a nugget suggesting just how seriously the NFL is taking their declining primetime TV audiences. Ratings in the 18-t0-49 demographic have fallen between 12 and 16 percent for Thursday, Sunday, and Monday night games, and the NFL, coincidentally or not, has decided to crack down on teams tweeting out videos.
We’ve obtained a memo that went out to all 32 teams reflecting that, starting Oct. 12, clubs are subject to a new fine schedule for exceeding the limits on video and any moving content. Those are particularly strict during the 60 minutes leading up to games, and through games, with clubs largely limited to re-posting from the NFL’s own accounts (with some allowance for approved content on Snapchat). The memo says that first-time offenders will be fined up to $25,000, a second offense will warrant a fine of up to $50,000, and a third offense will merit a fine of up to $100,000 and loss of rights to post league-controlled content.
The NFL denies that the changes are related to the ratings decline, but they deny a lot of things. At any rate, making sure that teams can’t present highlights the way they’d like to (and that fans can’t see highlights the way they’d like to see them) is a curious response to decreasing interest in the sport.