In what’s becoming a reoccurring theme, the NFL got another piece of bad news concerning the effect these anthem-protests are having on their ratings.
As reported by Deadline, the league’s ratings have declined substantially from the Veterans Day protests. With the week 10 Monday Night Football getting a 6.2 rating, an 18 percent decline from last week, NFL officials are worried that low ratings have persisted ever since the season’s record low in October.
The NFL’s ratings have been steadily low throughout the season, taking a significant hit following the weekend’s Veterans Day protests when three Miami Dolphins players “took the knee” during the match-up.
Last week’s Monday game between the Detroit Lions and the Green Bay Packers saw ratings rise slightly from the week prior, pulling in a 3.8 rating and 11.08 million total viewers.
It’s a stark contrast to last year’s games, in which the November 14th, 2016 face-off between the New York Giants and the Cincinnati Bengals saw ratings at least 22 percent higher. Overall, this week’s game marked the second-worst showing on Monday night this season and the fourth worst MNF ratings since it moved to ESPN in 2006.
A contributing factor to this game’s dismal ratings was the fact that the NFL announced there would be “no change” to their kneeling policy despite threats of boycotts. One Facebook page, called “Boycott the NFL,” grew to over 227,000 followers and warned the league that disrespecting United States veterans was unacceptable.
“We’re sending the National Football League, its corporate sponsors, and the television networks a message this Veterans Day weekend!” 2ndVote wrote according to The Washington Times. “Americans are sick of the disrespectful National Anthem protests that the NFL has not only allowed to continue, but has institutionalized in pregame ceremonies.”
Overall, 22,000 Americans said that they would not be watching the game because of the league’s policy, which currently states that players “should” stand for the anthem, but are in no way forced into doing so. “Until millionaire football players stop protesting the National Anthem of the United States, we’ll be here,” the group added.
President Trump has consistently condemned the protests on Twitter while challenging the leadership of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. “Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country. No leadership in NFL!” he tweeted.
As reported by The Hill, only 44 percent of those polled last month by the Winston Group said they thought favorably of the NFL, down from 57 percent last year. “The fall off in favorables occurred among important audiences. Among males, NFL favorables fell 23 percentage points, going from 68 percent to 45 percent,” according to Winston.
Since the national anthem protests, the NFL’s ratings have plummeted. Has the insertion of politics in the NFL hurt the brand?
“In looking at a more specific audience, males 34-54, NFL favorables fell 31 percentage points, going from 73 percent to 42 percent. Among this group the NFL has a surprising negative image, as it went from +54 percent (73 percent favorable-19 percent unfavorable) in August to -5 percent (42 percent favorable-47 percent unfavorable) in September,” added the group.
From the loss in ratings to weakened business relations, the NFL anthem-protests are having a detrimental effect upon this once great sport. Hopefully, the leadership within the league will finally recognize this truth.