It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
The executives of the NFL have continued to prove they don’t know their audience. Even those who know little about sports realize that nobody is tuning into the game to get their political fix. Sports are supposed to be an escape from politics.
The downfall of the NFL’s popularity began with Colin Kaepernick’s protest, in which he took a knee during the national anthem because he didn’t want to “honor that flag of a nation that oppresses people of color.”
It’s an incredibly anti-American statement, and given that he has no problem wearing attire bearing the image of communist dictators such as Fidel Castro, it’s clear he doesn’t understand the first thing about liberalism or history.
Kaepernick was booed even on his home turf in loony-lefty San Francisco –- and you can infer from that incident that his silent protest was only more unpopular elsewhere.
Polls at the time showed that over 70 percent of NFL fans found the protest unpatriotic –- and that figure has stayed the same this season, as players are now taking the knee in defiance of President Trump, who has consistently criticized them.
By September, a Winston poll found that the NFL has become the least-liked sports league, with 44 percent viewing the league favorably and 40 percent perceiving it unfavorably. The figures a month before that were 57 percent to 23 percent, respectively.
And as you’d expect, ratings have continued to fall. According to ESPN,
Through the first six weeks of the NFL season, total viewership of games is down 7.5 percent, compared with the first six weeks of 2016. An average of 15 million people watched games for the first six weeks this year, compared with 16.2 million people through Week 6 last season, according to metrics from Nielsen.
In the past week, Credit Suisse lowered its price targets on both Fox and CBS stock, citing NFL ratings declines.
“If ratings don’t improve materially, we see a potential headwind to domestic advertising revenues,” the investment bank’s analyst Omar Sheikh wrote of Fox on Thursday.
Compared with the first six weeks of the 2015 season, NFL ratings are off 18.7 percent — a sharp drop, but a smaller decline when considering the general overall fall in television viewership due to people dropping their cable packages.
So the league has lost 1.2 million viewers — and, go figure: They’re still reluctant to do anything about it.