The national anthem protests on football games are becoming a terrible problem for the NFL, to the point where it’s creating a serious problem for its business. According to The Gateway Pundit, the NFL is already losing $200 million in earnings compared to last year, since it pointed out that its TV ratings were already down by over 10 percent over 2016, and that was before this past weekend of protests.
Naturally, these statistics were submitted before over hundreds of players knelt during the American anthem on Gold Star Mothers Day. This new situation could increase the crisis that the media outlet is pointing out, considering that a 2016 poll from Yahoo Sports revealed that 44 percent of NFL fans would stop watching the games if more players followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps by kneeling during the anthem.
Over the last few days, several reports have revealed that after ratings for Week Two crashed hardly, in addition to the angst already felt by a poor showing in Week 1, analysts and industry insiders are alarmed that the NFL could reach a very delicate scenario.
Many believe this would be the inevitable outcome considering that the protests during the National Anthem are the main reason why the ratings are going down, and it seems unlikely that these would stop in the short term.
A recent investigation claims that networks like ESPN, Fox, CBS and NBC would take a $200 million hit to their estimated $2.5 billion in NFL advertising earnings in case the fans continue to turn off the TV. Lamentably, after showing their support for the players, the owners will have a difficult time finding a solution, especially considering the players will only stop kneeling when THEY decide they want to.
Apparently, the worries over the earnings are not allayed by the fact that this season’s Week Two has been the lowest mark for CBS since 1998. And the first two games of the season are down double-digits at a multi-year low compared to 2016.
A couple of days ago, Guggenheim Securities analyst Michael Morris told The Hollywood Reporter (THR) that he had hoped this new season would be better than last year, but admitted that the early results do not support any kind of optimism.
Reports suggest that since the NFL season opened on September 7, the shares of NBC parent Comcast are off 9 percent, while ESPN’s parent company Disney has seen its stock drop 3 percent and the shares of CBS are down 5 percent.
Apparently, only shares of 21st Century Fox has seen an important rise in that time frame, up 2 percent. Naturally, we’re talking about a major situation where the decision of making a political demonstration has represented a brutal hit to these networks and the NFL.
What seems to be the most concerning element about this issue is that far from being ads revenue the only thing that analysts believe it would fall, they assured this decline could also result in falling stock prices for the networks, which would be a terrible scenario for the industry.
Still, despite the troublesome declines, many analysts also point out that the NFL is definitely the TV’s biggest draw. Nevertheless, as customer media consumption trends change, the NFL’s favored nation status among smaller quantities of viewers may not be powerful enough to stave off severe belt-tightening.
According to several polls and studies, fans are leaving the league in droves because of the political activism that started with Colin Kaepernick. With these latest actions, many believe the problem will get bigger and bigger until it stops, which is the uncertain situation that almost nobody seems to know how could it be reached.
In a poll conducted in 2016, 44 percent of fans assured they would stop watching the games if the protests disrespecting the national anthem continued. Also, a J.D. Power survey showed fans citing the anthem protests as the main reason they stopped watching the NFL games.
With this new situation that started last weekend, one of the most popular sports in the United States could be facing one of its worst crisis thanks to the way the team owners let politics contaminate one of the most important entertainment for the American sports fan.