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Elaine He and James Boxell

NFL Playoffs Are Just Dismal Viewing

Viewership is down again, but rights are still prized.
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Icon Sportswire via Getty

This year's NFL playoffs haven't made easy watching for the big media owners of sports television rights. Last weekend's divisional games followed the same dismal pattern as the season, with viewership declines across the board -- some of them pretty spectacular:

Whether you blame lack of millennial interest, the fragmentation of the TV landscape or too many games and the kneeling controversy, the viewing picture is bleak. Broadcasting execs had hoped that last season's 8 percent drop in regular season audiences for major games was explained in part by all the competing excitement around Donald Trump's election. An 11 percent slump this time around suggests they were wrong: