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Steelers face task of reenergizing fanbase after TV ratings decline

There is more "macro-level concern from business standpoint" for Steelers Owner Art Rooney II on how he will find a way to "reinvigorate an eroding and disenchanted fanbase" after seeing a decline in TV ratings during the '21 season, according to Tim Benz of the PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW. While attendance is still fighting its way back to full capacity in many cities following coronavirus lockdowns in '20, it "seems to be an especially tough slog in Pittsburgh." This city "loves to bathe itself in the reputation of being one of the best football markets in the country." Perhaps the Steelers' recent issues on-and-off the field have "diluted the connection that this fanbase has historically had with the hometown franchise." The attendance battle is "one thing given the ongoing pandemic," but the TV viewership numbers "should be even more alarming to Rooney." The Steelers saw a 10% drop, and the only teams who witnessed a more significant dip were the Bears, Giants and Seahawks at 14% each and the Texans at 18%. All of those teams "lost at least 10 games and missed the playoffs." Whatever ratings the Steelers did retain were "likely aided by a strong finish to 2021, given the pomp and circumstance surrounding quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's farewell games." This does not appear to be an "NFL swoon in Pittsburgh viewership so much as it is an off-pace regression in engagement with the local team" (TRIBLIVE.com, 1/26).

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