The NFL is in deep trouble.
No other pro sports league has had so many bad headlines in a short time.
And now the NFL got some news that should really scare them.
The NFL has suffered through several scandals.
The issue of demotic abuse cropped up many times around the league.
The worst example involved running back Ray Rice.
The former player appeared on camera beating his girlfriend in public.
Rice got a suspension that many felt was too short. Rice was quickly cut due to backlash.
The problem of concussions also troubles the league.
The subject of head trauma first came to light when several high-profile former players killed themselves.
Autopsies revealed CTE, a form of brain damage. CTE can cause suicidal thoughts and violent mood swings.
So far there is no cure.
The film “Concussion” hammered the NFL on the problem. Right now they have no good answer.
The NFL has also dealt with bad officiating. The league keeps changing the rules. But it seems like each change makes the problem worse.
The low point occurred when the league used replacement refs. A blown call by the refs cost the Green Bay Packers crucial playoff seeding.
Finally, the NFL is suffering from the anti-American anthem protests.
Older viewers are not going to games and changing the channel.
But younger viewers are turning away, too.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began the unpatriotic protests in 2016.
The NFL ratings took a bit hit. The league saw an 8% drop.
The mainstream media that supported Kaepernick said the intrigue of the 2016 election led to the drop in ratings.
However, the ratings dropped again in 2017. This time 10%.
The protests continued. There was no national election to blame.
And the trend isn’t reversing itself. New data shows the slide will continue.
According to Sports Media Watch, pre-season ratings were down 9% across all networks.
Cord-cutting has hurt ratings for all. But the league’s slide is undeniable.
The NFL saw a two-year drop in popularity for the first time in ages.
They are not going in the right direction.
No Fix In Sight
The NFL has a shrinking audience.
People are not watching for many reasons.
Some won’t watch because of the concussions. Some won’t watch because of the protests. Some won’t watch because they think Kaepernick is being blackballed.
Some won’t watch because of the off-the-field arrests.
Whatever the reason, people are changing the channel.
The league is losing older viewers, and not replacing them. Due to concussion fears, youth football has seen a 38% drop in participation.
The NFL faced a lawsuit over the concussion problem. So far they’ve settled to pay $500 million in damages.
The NFL also has an upcoming legal fight with Kaepernick.
The assault on football is severe. And it’s coming from all angles.
Unless the league gets smart, the future of the NFL is in big trouble.