It’s really hard to even comprehend how badly the NFL blew it with these anthem protests. It would have been the easiest thing in the world to enforce the rules in their operations manual and fine players who disrespected the flag. Not only did they not do that, they sat back and let players sit, kneel, and even hide in the locker room during the anthem. You’d think that these players could take a couple minutes to respect the troops and the flag before running out onto the field to play a game for millions of dollars. Apparently, that’s too much.
The American people have made it pretty clear how they feel about the protests.
Their message to the NFL shows up loud and clear in the ratings.
Last year, the NFL lost about a million regular-season viewers versus the 2013 and 2014 seasons. It represented about a 6% fall-off ― enough to be easily noticed and maybe even cause a little concern, but it could be written off as a one-year blip.
Last year’s seepage has turned into a major break in the dam. The league is now down about three million viewers per game from 2013 and 2014. When the specific teams appearing, the scope of the telecast and the week of the season are taken into account, the decline is even more dramatic: more than four million viewers, or in excess of 20%.
The NFL, and all major sports, face some long-term trends that threaten viewership. Many people, particularly millennials, are just not tuning into traditional television nearly as much as past generations did. The range of leisure substitutes vastly expanded over the past decade, including streaming movies and series, YouTube videos, social media, gaming and texting. Live sports may be doing relatively better than other programming options for television networks, but the relative position doesn’t insulate sports from absolute declines.
Losing 20-25% of viewership in less than two years isn’t about long-term trends, though: They may siphon off viewers, but not in such large quantities. No, a sizable chunk of this decline has to be attributed to more recent factors.
You can thank Kaepernick and his fellow kneelers for that decline.
The NFL has to take drastic measures. But, what will they do?
Apparently, a plan is brewing to “fix” the ratings mess.
But, it’s not the NFL who is behind it. It’s the TV networks that are getting killed in the ratings.
Warner Todd Huston has the details.
Network executives are scrambling to solve the growing problem of crashing ratings for the National Football League, by cutting games to end the perceived “over-saturation” of football on TV.
To put an end to the sliding ratings, the executives are proposing that fewer games may be the ticket to stop that “over-saturation,” with one idea being to cut Thursday Night Football by a whopping ten games.
The idea to trim Thursday Night Football from 18 games a season to only eight was first reported by Sports Business Journal and was part of a plan to reverse the ratings crash that also includes pulling games played in the U.K. back to 1 PM eastern time (6PM London time).
Seems like a drastic move.
Seems like this could all be stopped by just making a firm stance.
Roger Goodell just has to go on TV and admit he botched it. Say from now on players will be fined and then suspended if they keep doing it. Donate a bunch of money to the troops. If the networks can somehow make him do that then things should get a little better.
But, if the networks want to go this route then that’s on them.
I’m not watching either way.