by Walter W. Murray, reporter
The NFL is in full-blown panic mode.
Major League Baseball has just launched into its most hotly anticipated playoff seasons in years, featuring some of the sport’s classic “marquee” teams in the Yankees, Cubs, Dodgers and Red Sox.
And baseball is getting all this attention just as sports-loving Americans are looking for something else to watch… because thanks to the barrage of disrespectful anthem protests, they’re sure as heck NOT watching football!
Ratings are down, and the protests are the reason for it: A new poll finds that just 31 percent of Americans support the anthem protests, while 52 percent disapprove.
The owners know it, too.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the united picture those owners have painted in public is crumbling behind the scenes, with a chaotic meeting in New York in which some argued it was time to crack down on the players.
Instead of defying President Donald Trump and encouraging the anthem protests, these owners are terrified that sinking ratings will destroy a business in which the average team is worth $2.5 billion.
Those values might already be plunging.
The ratings sure are: Every single week of football this year has seen fewer viewers as Americans turn off and tune out.
The Nielsen company said last weekend’s games averaged just 13.8 million viewers.
That’s down from 14.8 million the week before, 15.8 million the prior week and 16.3 million on opening weekend.
That’s a loss of 2.5 million viewers in less than a month!
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It’s not just on the weekends, either.
Ratings for the NFL’s crown jewel, Monday Night Football, have also been in freefall. They were down by 13 percent over the past week, which is a loss of 2 million viewers.
Even worse, the ratings plunged by 16 percent in the key 18-49 demographic advertisers crave.
They’re not just dropping week after week. They’re also down compared to last year as the anthem antics that have dominated NFL games are not going over well in the nation’s patriotic heartland.
America’s breadbasket has typically been the breadwinner for football when it comes to both ratings and merchandise. But as the ratings show, disrespect for the anthem and the flag have disgusted viewers tuning out.
Along with turning off the TV – or at least changing the channel – fans are also not showing up at games.
“Since the president weighed in, the owners are now dealing with a surge in ticket holder requests for refunds,” CNN’s John King reported during the week.
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Some fans even filmed themselves burning long-held season tickets in response to the anthem protests.
Meanwhile, baseball – which had been dropping in the ratings in recent years – seems to be enjoying a major-league resurgence.
The two-wild card games this past week each led the nightly cable ratings. The game between the New York Yankees and Minnesota Twins drew so many viewers that ratings were up 58 percent over last year’s AL wild-card game.
Baseball will be over by Nov. 1, if not sooner, but NFL owners know they can’t expect to get those viewers back so easily.
Already, fans on social media are talking openly of sticking to college football, watching basketball – which has banned kneeling – and even turning to hockey.
Could the NHL be the number one sport by the end of the year? That would truly be a Christmas miracle!
— Walter W. Murray is a reporter for The Horn News. He is an outspoken conservative and a survival expert, and is the author of “America’s Final Warning.”