Hard Knocks ratings up from 2020, but way down from 2019

America doesn’t care all that much about America’s Team.

Via Austin Karp of Sports Business Journal, HBO is averaging 295,000 viewers through the first two episodes of Hard Knocks in 2021, featuring the Dallas Cowboys.

That’s a 13-percent increase over last year’s joint Rams-Chargers season with no exhibition games. It’s also 59 percent below the 719,000 average from the first two episodes in 2019, centering on the Raiders.

That’s no surprise, because the Raiders’ rating were driven by the Antonio Brown drama. The Cowboys have nothing like that this year.

Via SBJ, streaming numbers weren’t available for the first two episodes of Hard Knocks. Some would say that, if they were good, they’d be available.

It’s fair to wonder whether Hard Knocks has outlived its usefulness. There’s much more access to teams than ever before, and the annual Hard Knocks treatment frankly feels like an exercise in lather, rinse, repeat. Different teams, different names, same vibe.