The NFL’s ratings are down.
And at one of his final campaign stops, Donald Trump offered his thoughts as to why.
Trump claimed the ratings were down because of heightened interest in the Presidential election.
.@realDonaldTrump: “The NFL ratings are way down because everyone’s watching this!” pic.twitter.com/tWP0lzNNcY
— POLITICO (@politico) November 7, 2016
The league agreed with Trump and circulated a memo also blaming the unprecedented coverage of the election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton for their sagging TV ratings.
“You know, the NFL ratings are way down. You know why? Because everybody’s watching this. It’s actually tougher,” Trump said at his rally Monday afternoon in North Carolina. “It’s actually tougher. Everyone’s watching. The NFL’s ratings are way down and a lot of people say it’s because of this.
Viewership is down for games across the NFL, but the drop has been especially steep for the league’s flagship games. Nielsen ratings for Monday Night Football are down 20 percent relative to last year, according to a Bloomberg report, while ratings for Sunday Night Football and Thursday Night Football are down 18.5 percent and 21.8 percent, respectively.
NFL games have historically been ratings gold for TV networks struggling to attract an increasingly diffuse audience, immune to the other factors that have bogged down ratings elsewhere. As a result, the league took in $5.25 in billion from its broadcast partners in exchange for the rights to air games live, according to Bloomberg.
In an internal memo sent by the league last month to its media committee, NFL executives blamed “unprecedented interest” in the presidential election for sagging ratings and said its partners are “unconcerned about a long-term issue.”
But while the election surely plays some role, there are clearly other factors.
Many fans believe the quality of play across the league is down.
Games are filled with commercials and penalties that disrupt the flow of action.
Other fans have been turned off by the league’s issue with former players suffering from concussions and other traumas from repeated blows to the head.
But polls have found that the number one reason fans are tuning out the NFL is the national anthem protests.
Spearheaded by San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, the anthem protests have spread to other teams, and fans are turned off by it.
A Yahoo Sports/YouGuv poll found one-third of NFL fans cite the protests as the number one reason they are no longer watching professional football.
The league’s declining popularity is likely due to many factors.
The top issue may be the anti-American protests staged by attention seeking, spoiled athletes.
Though, those protests have largely faded from the media coverage as the season has progressed.
And this election shall also pass.
But will the NFL win back the fans it has alienated when it’s all over?
Let us know what you think in the comment section.