NFL viewership is up approximately three percent from last season to an average of 16.3 million viewers through Week 6.
Ratings for the NFL bottomed out in 2017, which sparked speculation that their marketshare would continue to fall.
Since hitting a low for this decade of 15 million viewers in 2017, viewership has climbed 9 percent and is on par with the 2016 season (16.5 million).
"If the conversation around football is primarily about the game, then we're probably winning," says Michael Mulvihill, executive vp and head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports, which has the Super Bowl this season. "And if the conversation is about topics away from the game, we're probably losing. I think the focus for the past season and a half has become more where we'd like it to be, which is just on the games."
Conversations centered on politics and player safety have receded somewhat for the NFL.
The NFL's TV rights come up for bid again 2021 (ESPN) and 2022 (CBS, Fox and NBC).