NFL viewership has cratered, both in the seats and in the living room, to the lowest numbers in a decade and all the parent companies involved are losing incredible amounts of money.
As a result of the boycott due to Kapernick and Co. protests, Walt Disney, parent of ESPN; CBS, parent of CBS MoneyWatch; Fox, parent 21st Century Fox and Comcast, whose properties include NBC, are in a severe financial bind.
They’ve counted on the NFL to buttress their business as audiences for cable and broadcast networks have dwindled in recent years. It has been an expensive strategy.
Fox, CBS and Comcast signed a $27 billion deal with the NFL for the right to broadcast games through 2022. ESPN reportedly pays $1.9 billion per year for the rights to “Monday Night Football,” a 73 percent increase over the previous contract. NBC and CBS signed a $900 million deal in 2016 for the rights to broadcast Thursday night games.
But NFL viewership is at its lowest in a decade.
Some blamed the first low turnouts to watch football on hurricanes. But ratings have not rebounded.
As the NFL kicked off Week 3 with “Thursday Night Football,” team owners, TV networks and Madison Avenue are praying it can turn around an early-season ratings dip. Ratings in Weeks 1 and 2 were down 12 and 15 percent, respectively, according to Nielsen.
Nine of the 13 NFL windows in the season-to-date posted viewership decline.
At least one sports television network president believes that national anthem protests last season were a factor in the decline of NFL ratings.
On Wednesday during its annual NFL Media Day in New York City, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said research his network did internally indicated that the protests played some kind of role in declining average viewers. He was emphatic, however, that it was merely a factor and not the cause. The average television viewership for the 2016 NFL season dropped roughly 8% last year from 2015.
“We did research and it was relatively proprietary research, to be honest with you,” McManus said. “But I think if you look at some of the reasons why NFL viewership was down last year, that is a reason that’s mentioned by a fair amount of viewers. It is something they don’t find attractive or they don’t find compelling in coverage of the football game. How big a factor it was? I don’t really know. But it was one of the factors that I think perhaps led to the slight decrease in ratings last year.”
Let’s get this straight.
Football fans, by large numbers, are patriots. Other numbers show that while they have quit watching the NFL in disgust, college football is gladly taking those viewers in record numbers.
Now, some players are taking their antics from the sidelines during the national anthem, to the field during the game.
As the employer, the NFL has the right to force its players to leave their politics out of the game. When are they going to take a firm stand, like Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboys?
Kaepernick has broken football and cost a LOT of people a LOT of money. The teams, the broadcasters, the parent companies, and the advertisers.
How far does this have to go before political correctness takes a back seat to common sense?
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