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The NFL has experienced a slight ratings decline in recent years, NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith thinks players should have a bigger voice in how the league presents itself., and while there's no clear-cut reason for the dip in viewership

"I think that the ratings information is significant and important, who has been in discussions with the NFL's broadcast partners," Smith, told ESPN's Dan Graziano over the weekend. "If we don't pay attention to it, I think that we do so at our own peril, I recognize that we're lucky that over 30 of the top 50 shows were NFL broadcasts. But I think that you ignore at your own peril not so much just the decline in football, from a macroeconomic standpoint. Certainly, but the overall decline in ratings for most television shows and particularly sports broadcasts."

Smith's right -- any talk of ratings has to include this caveat: NFL games made up nearly 75 percent of the most-watched shows on television in 2017.

So yes, according to a CNN report from last fall., fewer people are watching football yet it remains among the most popular programming. Also worth noting: All of network television is fighting decreased viewership

there is room for improvement and Smith points to the NBA as a model for how the NFL could proceed.,Womens Harrison Smith Jersey,Still

because for the most part,Womens Sam Bradford Jersey, I think they are the only sport that more and more people are watching," Smith said. "And my hat's off to what they do and how they do it in the NBA. I think that you could make the argument that a lot of their programming is fresher,Authentic Brandin Cooks Jersey, hipper. They do, I think,Authentic Drew Brees Jersey, a great job of marketing their individual players, what that relationship is like,"I think that it's important to take a look at what's going on in basketball, sometimes at a time when the [NFL] looks for ways to take their star players off the field. I would be interested in better understanding the relationship between the broadcast partners and the NBA, how they do their TV deals, their rights deals.

"But I think that, given the year-over-year ratings issue in football, 'Should we be doing something different?' And that might mean the restructuring of the season in a way to make it more fan-friendly.", it begs the question

Fox chief executive officer James Murdoch said last October that oversaturation could be the issue.

"I do think the proliferation of Thursday availability -- and the proliferation of football generally -- does mean that you're asking a lot from customers to watch Thursday," Murdoch said at the time, via Ad Week. "And then they watch a lot more college football game on Saturdays,Authentic Stefon Diggs Jersey, and then on 'Monday Night Football, and then on Sundays,Authentic Harrison Smith Jersey,' etc. It's a lot. So I do think that preserving the scarcity value of those events and that audience is something that is worth thinking about."

When Graziano pressed Smith on what,Authentic Sam Bradford Jersey, exactly, he suggested fewer regular-season games and an extra round of playoff matchups.,Womens Stefon Diggs Jersey, the NFL should do differently

"It doesn't mean that that's necessarily what you're going to do,Womens Brandin Cooks Jersey,but we are at a point where we the union aren't going to be this sort of silent other third party out there who's not involved in the business of football from a stadium, media, offseason standpoint,Womens Drew Brees Jersey,  Sunday," Smith explained. "We're just not going to do it anymore."

This is a concern for Smith and the NFLPA because the current collective bargaining agreement is set to expire in 2021.

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