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

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

In a bevy of criticism hurled at the National Football League and its players, President Donald Trump tweeted Sunday that NFL ratings "are WAY DOWN" - a common attack the president uses against television shows since he took office.

ESPN's presentation of "Monday Night Football" will break with tradition and televise the national anthem tonight, ESPN confirmed to Business Insider. "People are watching less and the thing people don't realize is that NFL's decline got a lot of attention last season but the decline was happening before that". "I don't see any political controversy causing people to walk away".

Members of the Washington Redskins linked arms Sunday night during the national anthem while some kneeled, garnering boos from their home fans.

The NBC Sunday night game drew an 11.6 overnight rating, a decline of about 10 percent from the Chicago-Dallas Sunday night match-up in Week 3 past year.

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

But CBS' overnight ratings were up 4% compared to last year's week 3 coverage. And CBS's two national Sunday games (Green Bay Packers vs Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs vs Los Angeles Chargers) fell by a combined 1%. But it is far more likely that whatever Trump attempted to spur did not play a major factor in last night's incremental, predicable ratings drop.

For now, the NFL's broadcast partners are not seeing the same audience boost that other media outlets, from CNN to the New York Times, witnessed after Trump criticized them.

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