Wednesday, November 29, 2017
By Paul Martin

NOVEMBER 28, 2017

The NFL is hemorrhaging money right now, at a rate that could add up to a $500 million loss in revenue compared to last year. That revenue loss is being felt by the TV networks that carry NFL games, CBS, ESPN, Fox, and NBC. But revenue losses for networks mean significantly reduced TV contracts for the NFL.

One of the main factors in that loss of revenue has been a 20% drop in audience since 2015, the year the NFL saw a peak in viewership. Many will look at the NFL’s recent spate of National Anthem protests as the main culprit behind this decline. The protests began last season when then-San Francisco Quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a new while the National Anthem played.

To be sure, the NFL is most likely getting some blowback from the protests and from the NFL’s initial support of the protests, as well as the NFL’s continued mixed reaction to the protests. But does that alone explain the loss in ratings, which equals a loss in revenue?

There may be other factors coming in to play that are leading to the loss in ratings for the NFL. One of those factors could very well be the rules changes designed to protect players, changes that happened as a result of discoveries made about the ongoing issues that players suffer as a result of concussions, issues that have led players to experience significant health issues, even mental issues, including suicides (such as Junior Seau) that have been linked to what is called CTE.

A long-term problem for the NFL linked to CTE is being seen already at the middle school and high school levels as less and less kids are now playing football thanks, in large part, to parents not wanting their kids to play a sport they are increasingly looking at as being too dangerous to play.

On this front, however, there are rapid developments in helmet technology that might, down the road, restore some lost trust in the game that parents are currently experiencing. But right now, CTE has already triggered significant rules changes that negate one of the major draws to the game, hard hits.

Another factor is the addition of two LA teams, the Rams and the Chargers. These teams serve the 2nd biggest market in the country, but that market does not seem to be all that interested in these teams. The LA Rams, for instance, played a big game this past week in LA against the New Orleans Saints, possibly the then-second hottest team in the NFL, behind the Philadelphia Eagles.

The Rams were 7-3 and the Saints were 8-2. This was a big showdown that, across the country, garnered a lot of attention. Yet the stadium itself was, perhaps, 2/3 full. What’s more is that lack of interest in coming out to see the games live is also translated to the tv sets.

The Rest…HERE

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