Those hoping to watch Sunday Night Football tonight will have to make other plans, because the NFL has cancelled the final SNF game of the season.There will be no game at 8:30pm. This marks the first time since 1977 that the NFL regular season won’t end with a primetime broadcast, according to Deadspin. In its place, NBC will air Dateline from 7 to 9pm and The Wall from 9 to 11pm.
Last week, Deadline announced that ratings were behind the decision to cancel the game. With Sunday being New Year’s Eve, it’s likely people will not have time to tune into the game. According to CNN, NYE is a day that “historically” few Americans choose to watch TV, as it is.
Seven games are scheduled for a 1pm kickoff on Sunday, and nine games will kickoff at 4:25pm. In a statement, NFL senior vice president Howard Katz said, “We felt that both from a competitive standpoint and from a fan perspective, the most fair thing to do is to schedule all Week 17 games in either the 1 p.m. or 4:25 p.m. ET windows.”
Deadspin also noted that the last time a Sunday night game aired on New Year’s Eve, ratings were underwhelming. “On Sunday, Dec. 31 , the NBC Sunday Night Football telecast of the Green Bay Packers versus the Chicago Bears averaged a 4.7/15 in adults 18-49, 13.4 million viewers overall and a 7.9/15 household rating and share from 8:16-11:11 p.m. ET.”
Sunday’s games will all be broadcast on CBS or Fox. NBC will not air any games this week. According to CNN, this has been a rough year in terms of NFL viewership; ratings for this season are down 9% from last year.
For those of you hoping to tune into a New Year’s Eve celebration, Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve will begin airing at 8pm ET on ABC. Ryan Seacrest will host with Jenny McCarthy. Mariah Carey will be returning for redemption after she stopped singing in the middle of a song last year. Britney Spears will also help ring in 2018 with a performance. She’ll be singing live from The AXIS at Planet Hollywood. “Toxic” and “Work Bitch” are the songs set to be performed. Camila Cabello, Nick Jonas, and Sugarland will also be performing tonight.