Business Politics

NFL Ratings Take A Major Hit After Trump Calls Out Players For Protesting The National Anthem

The ratings and viewing numbers are out on the weekend’s NFL games, and the results aren’t good. The primetime matchup between the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins scored a 11.6/20 average rating, the lowest in years.

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NFL: Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts. Image courtesy of PBS.

Ratings for games played at the following locations are:

  1. D.C. — 23.3/40
  2. Richmond — 22.1/33
  3. Norfolk — 19.8/31
  4. Sacramento — 17.5/32
  5. S.F./Oakland — 17.2/35
  6. New Orleans — 17.2/24
  7. Denver — 16.2/27
  8. Buffalo — 15.4/24
  9. Kansas City — 14.8/24
  10. Las Vegas — 14.5/23

The real scare for National Football League leadership should be their viewers. The money is all in advertising, and the less people watch the games on Sunday, the less revenue from their advertising. There has been a decline in the number of people who watch the games for years, but the number dropped dramatically,  with about an 11% drop in viewers this past Sunday from the previous weekend.

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Several New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem before an NFL football game. Image courtesy of The Seattle Times.

The National Football League released a statement, saying “Ratings have been dropping for years, and we have no reason to believe that this weekend’s drop in ratings is a result of demonstrations by our players.” A Rassmussen Reports poll taken in 2016 found the following information about Sunday fooball viewers:

  • Blacks strongly believe they are treated unfairly by the police, but most overall voters think crime in inner cities is a bigger problem than police discrimination against minorities.
  • Twenty-nine percent of men say they are less likely to watch an NFL game because of the growing protests, while 18 percent say they’re more likely to watch. Among women, 35 percent say they are less likely to watch, and only 8 percent are more likely to tune in.
  • Those younger than age 40 are more likely to watch NFL games because of the protests than their elders are. But just over half of adults in all age groups say the growing protests have no impact on their viewing decisions.

The poll conducted sampled 1,000 people (as most do) using race demographics consistent with the United States population. This poll was done last fall during the beginning of the Colin Kaepernick inspired protests, and clearly demonstrate the anger that football watchers have towards the protests against the national anthem. However, the effect on ratings is likely the result of the calls to boycott NFL games from major political figures such as Donald Trump, Sean Hannity and Roy Moore, candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama. The NFL needs to reevaluate its strategy if it wants to maintain its stream of revenue. NFL viewers don’t like the protests, so the NFL should address the demonstrations with players and owners if they want to continue to generate a massive amount of revenue during the 2017-2018 season.

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