Poll shocker: NFL now the least like sport
Another Sunday in the NFL, which means more protests, more controversy. While the players seem oblivious to the catastrophe their league is undergoing, owners have to be getting frantic.
A new poll shows that the NFL is no longer "America's game." In fact, it has gone from the sport with the highest favorables to the sport with the lowest.
The drop has coincided exactly with the anthem protests.
Over just one month of player, coach, and owner protests of the flag and National Anthem, the National Football League has gone from America's sport to the least liked of top professional and college sports, according to a new poll.
From the end of August to the end of September, the favorable ratings for the NFL have dropped from 57 percent to 44 percent, and it has the highest unfavorable rating – 40 percent – of any big sport, according to the Winston Group survey provided exclusively to Secrets.
Worse for football, which was already seeing lower TV ratings and empty stadium seats, the month of protests and complaints about them from President Trump drove core fans, men 34-54, away, the most significant indicator that NFL brass aren't in touch with their base.
The Winston Poll from the Washington-based Winston Group found that the attitude of those fans went from an August rating of 73 percent favorable and 19 percent unfavorable to 42 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable, a remarkable turn against the sport.
According to the poll analysis, "more critically for the NFL, the fall off in favorables occurred among important audiences. Among males, NFL favorables fell 23 percent, going from 68 percent to 45 percent. In looking at a more specific audience, males 34-54, NFL favorables fell 31 percent, going from 73 percent to 42 percent. Among this group the NFL has a surprising negative image, as it went from +54 percent in August to -5 percent in September."
The Winston Poll was of brand images for the NFL, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and college football and basketball. It was of 1,000 registered voters and taken August 29-30 and then again September 28-29.
How desperate are the owners? The game ticket aftermarket is taking a beating.
NFL ticket prices have plummeted in the wake of the uproar over the national anthem protests, dropping for the first time this year below the 2016 season’s prices.
An analysis released Friday by CNBC found that ticket prices during the first three games of the 2017 season enjoyed a 20-40 percent increase over last year, but then skidded in Week 4 and actually dropped by 2 percent in Week 5.
The timing coincides with the uproar following President Trump’s criticism of the protests on Sept. 22, which prompted nearly 200 players to sit or take a knee during the national anthem in the Sept. 24-25 games in Week 3.
“After the president’s comments and NFL player reactions, Week 4 saw only a 5 percent increase, and now we’re seeing an outright decline. So that’s a bad direction,” said CNBC’s Eric Chemi.
I think there are a lot of fans like me. I will watch my Beloved Bears - but have given up watching other games. Even a matchup like today between the hated Green Bay Packers and almost as hated Dallas Cowboys will not get my attention. I will watch the baseball playoffs instead and when they are over, catch up on some of my DVR recordings.
As a league, the NFL is dead to me. Anything they do to try and recover their fan base will be insincere and probably not enough anyway. They will still have their several billion dollar TV contracts, but if this keeps up, watch for the networks to demand a renegotiation.The nets are stuck with an albatross around their necks with no way to get out from under.