This week, it was reported that the NFL is planning on playing the black national anthem, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” at the beginning of every week-one game prior to performances of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
This decision along with many coaches, teams, and players already announcing they will be kneeling or showing some solidarity with the Black Lives Matter campaign and other social justice movements has led to a group of fans saying they will not be watching football this fall.
Aside from public opinions of injustice and what is happening in America right now, the question has to be asked.
Is this a smart business decision for the NFL? This offshore sportsbook says it may be.
Due to the current COVID outbreak, the NFL is already staring at some possible scenarios that would cause them to take a big hit in revenue.
According to CBS, if teams have to play games without fans, they are set to lose up to $100 million in revenue generated from tickets, concessions, parking, and more. On top of that, the NFL recently shortened the 2020 preseason and may cut it altogether. Each preseason game brings the home team about $7-10 million in ticket sales.
Now $7-10 million may not seem like a lot in the big picture, but in a season that is already in jeopardy, any amount counts. Advertising in stadiums could also take a hit; if there are no fans, companies would make no gains from putting their ads and commercials in empty stadiums. Canceling preseason, losing fans in stadiums, and alienating a portion of their fan base could lead to the NFL seeing unprecedented losses in revenue and ratings in 2020.
In 2016 when Colin Kaepernick and other players started kneeling during the national anthem, one-third of NFL viewers stopped watching games. The league’s TV ratings fell across the board that year. If a few players kneeling led to an overall loss in viewership, then a more emboldened approach led by the actual league would be expected to cost the NFL even lower ratings than in 2016.
In a season where watching a game live may not be a reality, it does not seem like a smart business move for the NFL to also risk losing even more money in the TV market. Maybe people’s opinions have changed more in the last four years, but is that a risk that they should be willing to take?
Only time will tell if the NFL will face their worst-rated season yet or if they will be able to keep themselves afloat.
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