Every year, fans, analysts and media members complain the NFL’s Pro Bowl is a waste of time. The event should be eliminated because nobody cares about it, except of course for the 10.1 million people watching the game Sunday evening.
According to ESPN, their Sunday afternoon broadcast of the NFL Pro Bowl averaged 8.6 million viewers, a 15 percent increase from the 7.5 million in 2017. The game garnered a 5.3 household rating, a 25% increase from last year’s broadcast, peaking between 5-5:30pm ET with a 6.1 rating an 10.1 million viewers.
In comparison, last year’s NBA All-Star game received its highest TV rating since 2013, averaging 7.8 million viewers and peaking at 8.5 million. The 2017 MLB All Star game combined for 9.4 million viewers when including its streaming numbers via Fox Sports GO. This year’s Pro Bowl rating fits respectively in-between the basketball and baseball all-star events, but those two sports never have people complaining the games should be cancelled.
The 2018 Pro Bowl audience numbers are also likely to increase by an estimated seven percent when all streaming audiences are included to provide the Nielsen Total Audience measurement.
The Pro Bowl ratings are comparable with a premiere regular season matchup from one of the other major sports. While the game may not be as exciting as the playoffs, or even a regular season matchup, it’s still worthwhile for the league to keep it when generating an audience size of 8.6 million.