The NFL protests have drawn the ire of football fans as well as average Americans who normally do not follow the game. And it’s beginning to have an effect.
According to Sports Business Daily, the NFL’s ratings are struggling, having plummeted since the protests started. Now they’re looking to make changes. One potential change NFL executives may be looking into could be canceling the league’s Thursday games altogether.
The backlash from fans over the national anthem protests has been significant. According to Deadline, fans have boycotted the games by turning off TVs and refusing to come to the stadiums. One high-profile incident occurred during a Jacksonville Jaguars game when a plane flew overhead trailing a banner that read, “Be American. Boycott the Jags and the NFL.”
The protests have had a major impact on the NFL’s broadcast ratings and, thusly, their bottom line. Yet the NFL continues to exist in denial saying that any number of factors are the cause rather than admit the protests are the driving force.
The media is stubbornly focusing on oversaturation as the reason NFL ratings are low. Granted, given that fans can watch games on Thursday night, Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, and Monday night, not to mention all the discussion and highlights between games, it is possible this is part of the reason for the ratings drop.
In any case, there’s no denying that ratings are down. Overall, viewership dropped by 7 percent when compared to last season and there has been a sharp 11 percent drop in viewership in the 18 to 34-year-old demographic.
According to CBS Sports, Thursday night games struggle anyway due to inferior team match ups. Former NFL coach John Madden says, “What’s happens is there are not a lot of good teams, and they have too many windows to put these games in. When you think of an early Sunday window, a late Sunday window, a Sunday night window, a Monday night window, a Thursday night window. They all want good games, and there’s not enough good teams.”
While the poor matchups and oversaturation are no doubt having an effect, the main reason NFL ratings are down overall is a result of the protests, according to CBS Boston. A survey by J.D. Power revealed that of those who are watching fewer games the main reason given, 26 percent, was the protests.
It’s also apparent that both the media and the NFL are aware that the protests are having an effect on ratings despite their claims to the contrary. According to Breitbart, Fox Sports was the first to decide not to cover the national anthem protests during the games, choosing to go back to its normal schedule instead.
Many teams have also ceased protesting to avoid drawing the wrath of their fans, according to The Blaze. Since the massive demonstration in Week 3, with 204 players participating, those numbers have dropped sharply. This last weekend saw only 30 players continuing the protests and Week 6 interestingly had only 12 protesting.
Ratings for NFL games across the board are sharply down. Do you believe the players’ national anthem protests are the reason?
While the media and the Left can claim that oversaturation, concussion controversy, multiple streaming platforms and a host of other reasons are the cause for the loss in ratings and viewership there is no denying that the protests are dealing the death blow.
If the NFL decides to cancel Thursday night’s games it will be because fans have grown tired of the disrespect to the national anthem and the financial effect has forced the NFL to make necessary cuts.