The NFL is still finding its TV ratings and fan base shrinking and now the NFL Network has been forced to slash programing, and cut $20 million in its budget. Insiders worry that cuts in workers are next.
The big talent has not been spared, either. One show that featured Deion Sanders was cut, according to the New York Post.
The the new budget was announced just before talent salary negotiations, too, prompting many to worry that cut salaries or even layoffs are next on the list.
As the Post reports:
NFL Network is definitively cutting five programs. Sanders’ “21 & Prime,” “Power Rankings,” “Pick ‘em,” “Playbook” and “Mic’d Up” are off the air. The future of the weekend edition of “Good Morning Football” is in question.
In response, the NFL Network said it was actually upping its investment, but it was shifting where the spending is taking place with the NFL 100 celebration.
“As part of an increased investment in programming and content for 2019, NFL Network will unveil several shows geared towards a celebration of the NFL’s 100th season,” an NFL network spokesman, Alex Riethmiller, said in a statement to The Post. “These shows will replace a handful of existing shows from our 2018 schedule.”
The NFL Network is also in a carriage fight with DirecTV Now and AT&T U-verse both of which dumped the network.
Despite the troubles of the NFL Network, the league’s ratings finally rebounded a tiny bit this year.
One major reason is that the constant anti-American protests finally cam to an end at the end of the 2018 season.
After two years of massive TV ratings declines largely due to anthem protests, the NFL finally stopped the bleeding and posted a small gain as the anthem protests all but disappeared.
Ratings for 2016 and 2017 were down nearly 18 percent combined, but ratings for the 2018 regular NFL season finally bottomed out, according to USA Today.
The paper notes that NBC and CBS and cable sports network ESPN were each up eight percent while Fox saw a smaller four percent hike in viewers.
Over all that was a five percent gain.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.