NFL Ratings Down Nationally in Wake of Protests, But Up Locally

Watch: NFL to run unity-themed ad during 'Sunday Night Football'

Viewership of Sunday's games on NBC, CBS, and Fox were down a total average 4% compared to Week 3 of a year ago, according to Nielsen data.

The NBC match-up between Oakland and Washington averaged an overnight 11.6 rating among households.

Overall, ratings for Sunday's National Football League matches were down about 4 percent, according to John Ourand, a reporter at Sports Business Journal. Overnight ratings for its singleheader slate of games were down 16% compared to last year's week 3 numbers.

That is an eight percent drop in viewership from the prior week's game when the Atlanta Falcons beat the Green Bay Packers, and a 10 percent drop from early numbers for last year's equivalent Sunday night game during the third week.

Last night's Sunday Night Football peaked with a 12.5/20 during the second quarter at 9 - 9:30 PM ET.

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The protests began last season when quarterback Colin Kaepernick started kneeling during the anthem in protest of racial injustice.

Trump and others have professed that the NFL's ratings are down due to players kneeling, sitting or raising their fist during the national anthem.

Trump's comments on Friday night shined a spotlight on the league and the protests, leading the networks to change up their planned broadcasts of games and the anthems preceding them. ESPN, which also abandoned some of its usual pregame chatter to talk politics, plans to air the anthem live on "Monday Night Football".

The spot features images of the likes of Pat Tillman, Steve Gleason and Sarah Thomas, the NFL's first female official. When the Cowboys played the New York Giants on Sunday night in Week 1, it was the only Sunday game that saw an increase in viewership over the year before.

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