New Survey: NFL Among the ‘Most Divisive’ Brands

October 12, 2017 2:28 pm Last Updated: October 13, 2017 5:10 pm

The NFL, according to a new report, is among the “most divisive brands” in the United States—weeks after President Donald Trump spotlighted the debate on what teams should do when players take a knee during the national anthem.

Before Trump’s comments at an Alabama rally that players who protest should be fired, 60 percent of Democrats and Republicans viewed the NFL favorably, The New York Times (via a Morning Consult survey) reported. About 20 percent at the time viewed it unfavorably.

Weeks later, the survey painted a very different picture, the Times reported.

“Trump voters are now much more likely to say that they view the NFL negatively, reflecting a sharp change around Sept. 23,” the paper reported.

According to the survey, the net favorability of the NFL among Hillary Clinton voters is currently +38 percent, but -24 percent among supporters of President Trump. The league is now seventh on the list of most divisive brands, along with Trump Hotels, CNN, NBC News, The New York Times, MSNBC, and Fox News.

Last week, there was a poll that found that the NFL is the “least liked sport” in the country. Its favorability ratings dropped from 57 percent to 44 percent among fans—from August to September. The league’s unfavorable rating, according to the Winston Group survey published by the Washington Examiner, increased to 40 percent.

Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence stand during the national anthem prior to the start of an NFL football game between the Indiana Colts and the San Francisco 49ers at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on Oct. 8, 2017. (White House/Myles Cullen/Handout via REUTERS)
Members of the Dallas Cowboys take a knee before the start of the national anthem at an NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., on Sept. 25, 2017. (Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

The NFL’s core fanbase, men between the ages of 34 to 54, weren’t happy with the anthem protests.

According to the analysis, “More critically for the NFL, the fall off in favorables occurred among important audiences. Among males, NFL favorables fell 23 percent, going from 68 percent to 45 percent. In looking at a more specific audience, males 34-54, NFL favorables fell 31 percent, going from 73 percent to 42 percent. Among this group the NFL has a surprising negative image, as it went from +54 percent in August to -5 percent in September.”