According to Variety, the NFL’s ratings woes are far from over. In a season that continues to see players kneeling for the national anthem and a closely-aligned athletic brand choosing Colin Kaepernick as the face of their ad campaign, viewers are tuning out yet again.
The trade magazine reported that ratings for the first three weeks of the 2018 season “are down an average 2% in total viewers from where they were at the same point in 2017.” That’s not an enormous shift by any means, but you have to take into account that ratings were already beginning to slide precipitously into the toilet by this time last year. Not all of this can be blamed on the anthem protests – TV viewership is down in general as Americans switch to streaming and other services – but it is definitely playing a part. A big part.
As conservative media specialists have pointed out, the backlash eating away at the NFL’s ratings is not unique to football.
Last month, viewership for the Emmy Awards was down 11% from last year, to an all-time low. Back in May, the Billboard Music Awards also hit an all-time low. Could the declining fortunes of awards shows and pro football games be related?
Yes, because both the games and the ceremonies are giving audiences exactly what they don’t want: politics.
According to new data from a Media Research Center/McLaughlin & Associates national poll of 1,000 likely voters:
74% agree with the statement, “When I watch live sports or entertainment shows on television I am trying to get away from politics and do not want to be bombarded with partisan political messages.”
43% said they have been less likely to watch live sports and entertainment shows because they have become too political.
Among likely voters who claim they are watching less pro football this year, the top two reasons they cite are “tired of the political statements” associated with the NFL and the “political agenda of the announcers and players.”
This is an easy thing to fix, but the question is whether the NFL and Hollywood are willing to do what it takes to repair the damage. Or do they consider themselves so “right” and so “important” as the nation’s lecturers that they cannot see what’s right in front of their eyes: That millions of Americans don’t want woke running backs, braindead celebrities, and self-important sportscasters telling them how and what to think! If they don’t snap out of it and realize it soon, we could see something extraordinary: A massive movement towards shutting-off and tuning out, from television to movies and everything in between.
Come to think of it, that might be just what this nation really needs.