We’ve had several discussions on how the over politicalization of sports is killing viewership, putting channels like ESPN in jeopardy.
No one wants political toxicity infiltrating America’s favorite past times. And Americans especially tend not to appreciate when anti-patriotic garbage becomes widely accepted in professional sports, like oh, say, NFL players protesting the national anthem.
In a recent survey conducted by J.D. Powers, former NFL viewers cited national anthem protests as the biggest reason for tuning out.
National anthem protests were the top reason that NFL fans watched fewer games last season, according to a new survey released by J.D. Power.
The pollster said it asked more than 9,200 people who attended either one football, basketball or hockey game whether they tuned into fewer games and why. Twenty-six percent of those who watched fewer games last season said that national anthem protests, some of which were led by Colin Kaepernick, were the reason.
After that, 24 percent of those surveyed who said they watched fewer games said they did so either because of the league’s off-the-field image issues with domestic violence or with game delays, including penalties.
NFL game viewership on networks that broadcast games was down an average of 8 percent for the 2016 regular season versus the season before. Before the election (Nov. 8), games for the first nine weeks were down 14 percent compared to 2015. The final eight weeks saw only a drop of 1 percent compared to Weeks 10-17 in 2015.
American sports have always been an escape from the mundanity and stress of the daily grind. As politics grow more contentious and social justice causes continue their slow spread into every facet of life, the public seems to have less and less tolerance for this kind of junk in their sports. But I doubt the NFL or ESPN have learned this lesson yet.
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