NFL ratings down 7.5 percent compared to last year - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

NFL ratings down 7.5 percent compared to last year

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New York -

New metrics from Nielsen show through the first six weeks of the NFL season, total viewership of games is down 7.5 percent when compared to the first six weeks of 2016. 

An average of 15 million people watched games for the first six weeks this year, compared with 16.2 million people through Week 6 last season, according to Nielsen.

Through six weeks (seven games), ESPN's Monday Night Football viewership is averaging 11.2 million viewers, a 6 percent increase through Week 6, compared with last year, according to ESPN. 

When compared to ratings from the first six weeks of the 2015 season, NFL ratings are off nearly 20 percent at 18.7 percent, which ESPN say is "a sharp drop, but a smaller decline when considering the general overall fall in television viewership due to people dropping their cable packages."

In 2016, the NFL attributed part of the viewership decline during the first half of the season to presidential election coverage. After the election, ratings went back up, but were still down 8 percent when compared to 2015. 

Many people have said they are boycotting the NFL because of player protests during the national anthem this year. 

 Following a meeting on Tuesday, the NFL and the NFLPA, which represents the players, released a join statement. 

"Everyone who is part of our NFL community has a tremendous respect for our country, our flag, our anthem and our military," their joint statement said. "In the best American tradition, we are coming together to find common ground and commit to the hard work required for positive change."

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