Why has the NFL experienced double-digit ratings decreases?
There have been many proposed theories.
But one poll drilled down some answers.
Morning Consult asked 2,088 Americans and found a few interesting data points.
Fewer older and conservative-leaning Americans were watching NFL football.
The poll also found that games aired on too many nights and had too many commercials, as well as election coverage drove viewers away from professional football.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Year-over-year viewership has declined more for people over 45 years old than people 18 to 45. Some 24% of respondents 45 to 54, for example, said they are watching some or much less football this year, compared to a 16% drop for people 30 to 44.
Interest in the election certainly played a part in keeping viewers away from the games. The survey, done earlier this month, found that 16% of respondents were somewhat or much less likely to have watched football because of election coverage including debates.
As for political leanings, conservatives are watching less football this season compared to last season versus other political groups. Some 28% of conservatives said they were watching some or much less NFL, versus 20% for moderates and 16% for liberals.
The survey did not explore why older and conservative viewers might be losing more interest than other groups this season and whether protests by players during the playing of the national anthem are a factor.
Older viewers cited political coverage less frequently than their younger counterparts as playing a part in their decision to not watch football…
…Fewer commercials and shorter broadcasts could boost viewership, the survey said. Of those surveyed, 43% said they would be much more or somewhat more likely to watch games if there were fewer commercials. To be sure, the amount of commercials in NFL games is pretty much the same as last year when ratings were higher.
Thursday Night Football is clearly a challenge for the NFL. The survey indicates that 22% of people only tune in if their favorite team is playing, compared to 17% on Sundays.
While the survey did try to figure out why older and conservative-leaning Americans are watching less football, some have guessed that it is because the NFL has eagerly embraced the left’s politicization of the sport.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests quickly spread across the league with players on multiple teams either kneeling or raising a fist in a gesture of black power during the playing of the Star Spangled Banner.
This alienated many conservative-leaning viewers who thought pro football was a break from the 24-hour a day political news cycle.
Many conservatives were also angered by the league defending Kaepernick but refusing to allow the Dallas Cowboys to wear a sticker on their helmets memorializing the five slain Dallas police officers who were killed by a radical black power supporter.
Other polls conducted by YouGov and Rasmussen showed the protests were the number one reason fans were tuning out of the NFL.
Why do you think NFL ratings are down?
Let us know in the comment section.