The NFL isn’t even close to being one of the biggest sports in the world. According to World Atlas, soccer, tennis, volleyball, golf, cricket and even table tennis have more worldwide fans than American football.
In America, the Super Bowl is without a doubt the biggest sporting event of the year and it garners massive revenue through commercial advertisements. Last year the NFL collected a little over five million dollars per 30-second spot.
But the NFL just received terrible news about their financial situation for this Sunday’s game.
The NFL has been a turbulent roller coaster over the last couple years. Ratings have been up-and-down and completely unpredictable, which means they don’t know exactly how to price out commercial spots week to week.
It’s important to note that the main revenue stream for the league and team owners is through their television contracts, but those contracts are volatile when you can’t accurately predict how many people watch the game.
Week to week, either Sunday Night Football or Monday Night Football can be one of the best matchups of the year or one of the worst. That means there’s a huge disparity in viewership where there are only 22 million people or 11 million people watching those respective games.
Nobody wants to see a Sunday Night Football game between the two worst teams in the league and it really doesn’t matter whether it’s an intense overtime game or not because at the end of the day it largely doesn’t affect playoff implications.
All of this means that companies to advertise during these games are clueless about whether it is worth forking over the money that the NFL and their network partners demand to broadcast their commercials.
The NFL has just learned that after years of steady price increases for Super Bowl ad space, this upcoming Sunday, in the matchup between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams, the prices for the coveted ad space is stagnant for the first time in a long time.
According to Bloomberg, “CBS Corp, which will broadcast the big game from Atlanta on Feb. 3, is selling 30-second commercials for $5.1 million to $5.3 million, people familiar with the matter said. That’s roughly the same price as last year, when Comcast Corp’s NBC sold them for $5.24 million, according to research firm Kantar Media.”
The article also noted that the audience “peaked in 2015,” and unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few years, you already know that it likely has to do with the Colin Kaepernick anthem kneeling controversy.
In fact, Bloomberg also noted, “Super Bowl ad prices had steadily increased over the past decade, in some years making huge leaps. Between 2012 and 2013, the price went up $500,000, according to Kantar Media. It jumped $400,000 between 2015 and 2016. Now Super Bowl ad prices “seem to be peaking.”
That is pretty clear-cut evidence that the slump in ratings is due to former fans boycotting the NFL because of their anti-American players.
Another reason why ad prices could have remained stagnant this year is because this matchup is considered by many to be a worst-case scenario.
The New England Patriots have gone to the Super Bowl an unprecedented nine times since 2001. Unless you’re a Boston sports fan, most of the country has Patriots fatigue.
That could be a huge reason why companies aren’t willing to shell out more money this year. They’re afraid many casual NFL fans won’t want to see the same team win again.
What’s odd though is that both of the Super Bowl teams represent huge markets in Boston and Los Angeles and the other two teams who lost their conference championship games represent two cities that are remarkably undersized compared to them.
Yet, almost everyone wanted to see any other matchup between those four teams than the one coming this Sunday.
Or, this is a sign that the NFL it is in serious trouble.