Advertising revenue for the National Football League (NFL) fell by 19% in September and October, according to information from Standard Media Index.
The NFL aired 51 games over the two months in 2017 and in 2018, but revenue dipped and the number of 30-second commercial spots fell by 6%, as well.
John Spiropoulos, vice president of products and partnerships at Standard Media Index, told The Drum that this revenue drop represents last year's declining audience numbers.
"The revenue that's associated to the NFL this year was planned last spring and last summer, and the results for that planning were driven by the audience declines that were seen last year. Marketers reacted to that by pulling money back from their planning for NFL in the spring for this season," said Spiropoulos.
Spiropoulos said some of that money may have gone to ad spend during the World Series, where Major League Baseball saw revenue grow 27% year-over-year. Fox, which aired the title series, raked in $121.6m in ad revenue.
Spiropoulos added that major marketers who buy in national television and the media properties that bid for contracts value stability over a slight loss.
"The networks are fine with maybe losing a little bit in a scenario like this year, because it allows them to control the inventory and the price associated with that inventory — and report to Wall Street in large volume numbers on an annual basis, which gives a company some stability and projection capability," he said.
Overall, broadcast saw a 7% drop in ad revenue. Broadcast networks also increased their number of 30-second spots by 5% compared to October 2017.
Cable networks increased revenue by 5% since last October.