With Hollywood’s box office numbers at a standstill for months upon seemingly endless months, Los Angeles also found out that it wasn’t the TV draw it expected to be this year either. While HBO and the NFL hoped that Hard Knocks: LA would be a hit as they pegged two teams to share the small screen for the first time, Austin Karp of the Sports Business Journal reported the lowest TV ratings for any episode of the show he could find. Ever.
Tuesday evening’s premiere drew 273,000 viewers, with streaming numbers yet to be reported. Karp says that is more than 400,000 fewer viewers than who watched the premiere of the Raiders on Hard Knocks (he mistakenly wrote “Browns,” who were on the show in 2018, but corrected himself in a later tweet and clarified the numbers are correct) last year.
Wow was I wrong on expecting a big audience for Hard Knocks on HBO this year.— Austin Karp (@AustinKarp) August 13, 2020
Tuesday premiere averaged 273,000 viewers on TV. Lowest figure I can find for a Hard Knocks episode. No streaming figures yet.
Last year, Episode 1 for Browns averaged 705K on TV (879K with streaming)
Most of Hard Knocks: Los Angeles episode one featured how the Rams and Chargers are preparing for and putting precautions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic. Notable omissions from the first episode were training camp battles — writers had to carefully examine the Rams first string offensive line and running backs and draw their own conclusions — and mention of the fact that the two teams will be sharing the $5 billion SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park.
Perhaps more information will be coming once padded practices begin early next week, though the second episode of Hard Knocks won’t be showing any of that until Episode 3 probably. Without preseason games, we’ll have even less information about players battling to start or to simply make the team or practice squad.
And maybe if the live TV numbers are way down, the streaming numbers will be way up. There are many theories out there right now about what happened with Tuesday’s numbers, but as of now we only know that they appear to be quite low.