"For an industry reeling from the catastrophic financial effects of the pandemic, huge audiences were thought to be the balm to get through 2020, and leagues rushed their schedules accordingly," says Will Leitch. "Major League Baseball, in particular, jammed together its season to make certain it was back in time for the playoffs, which are broadcast nationally and therefore most important to its television contracts. All the leagues had to do was stage the games, the thinking went, and a sports-famished America would be glued to its televisions. It has not turned out that way. It’s clear that the industry’s (totally understandable!) theory that sports fans would be so desperate that they would watch anything and everything has not proven correct. Even the NFL, the ratings juggernaut of the entire entertainment industry, has been down from last year. It’s not just that ratings didn’t shoot into the stratosphere like everyone was hoping — it’s that they’re actually down. And while it’s not fair to say the sports industry is in a panic over this, that’s only because the industry is in such a panic over everything else that the ratings simply need to take their place in line. What’s going on? There are many theories, some of which make more sense than others." The theories include the rise of streaming, games becoming too political, too many sports on at the same time and lack of fans in the stands being too weird." ALSO: NFL sent a memo telling teams not to worry about low ratings.