When you mix activism with entertainment you get propaganda, which isn’t exactly something that turns a lot of people on. When the NFL decided to focus on propaganda and not football, a huge chunk of its audience decided they just weren’t going to tune in.
NFL ratings have been sliding downhill like a greased up pig on a muddy slope ever since the kneeling started. Players and coaches alike protested the United States and/or Trump by kneeling down on the ground while the national anthem played instead of putting their hands to their hearts and standing respectfully. And while many Americans just didn’t take kindly to it, many tuned out for other reasons.
Yahoo Finance reported that a new survey from SurveyMonkey and Ozy Media showed that in the end, all the boycotts resulted in 33 percent of the NFL’s audience departing:
That group, which the survey labeled as “boycotting,” was asked why, and was given multiple options. Note: Respondents were allowed to select multiple answers; they were not asked which was the biggest factor, just which factors contributed.
They answered as follows: 32% said they stopped watching or attending NFL games “in support of Donald Trump”; 22% said “in solidarity with players kneeling”; 13% said “no interest in the teams playing”; 12% said “in support of Colin Kaepernick”; and 11% said “news about traumatic brain injuries among players.” Another 8% said “games are boring.” 46% chose “some other reason.”
No matter the reason, the NFL is feeling the hurt resulting from people turning their backs on the sport. According to Sports Illustrated, the ratings are being described as “disastrous.”
The NFL had a disastrous weekend when it came to ratings. Numbers have been down all season and it was more of the same for the wild-card games. The biggest surprise was that the best game (Panthers-Falcons) had the biggest decrease year over year. Yes, markets were a big factor, but that was a competitive and entertaining game. Here’s the breakdown:
Titans-Chiefs (14.7) was down 11 percent versus last year’s Raiders-Texans game.
Falcons-Rams (14.9) was down 10 percent versus last year’s Lions-Seahawks game.
Bills-Jaguars (17.2) was down 10 percent versus last year’s Dolphins-Steelers game.
Panthers-Saints (20.4) was down 21 percent versus last year’s Giants-Packers game.
The NFL is learning a lesson that many industries are learning the hard way…don’t introduce politics to escapism.