The NFL’s profitability is continuing to take hits as NFL players kneel in protest during the national anthem.
Just in the past month, the overall stock market was up by more than 2 percent, but shares of companies that broadcast NFL games were all down between 1 percent and 8 percent, according to Forbes.
Those companies include Comcast, Walt Disney, Fox, and CBS.
Protests during NFL games have increased since 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick first began protesting during the anthem last year. But some people seemed to be turned off by the increased political activism in what should be just a sports game.
Toward the end of the last season, some people argued that the NFL’s ratings dip would be temporary. Instead, they have continued to fall. Fallen ratings mean that networks would have to reimburse advertisers as fewer people tune in to watch.
Networks will pay over $5 billion this season to televise the NFL, which has already faced poor margins on advertising profits, Forbes reported.
President Donald Trump said on Monday, Sept. 25, “The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!”
The issue of kneeling has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag and National Anthem. NFL must respect this!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 25, 2017
According to Business Insider, the broadcaster could lose $200 million in earnings or more if ratings continue to drop.
Just in week two of this year’s season, the NFL has seen a 4 percent drop compared to 2016 week two viewership for Sunday games. For Monday night football the drop increased further to 14 percent, compared to last year’s same day.
Week one ratings were also poor. Ratings dropped an average of 13 percent from the same week in 2016, Business Insider reported.
We are now only into the third week of the 2017 NFL season but the downward trend continues to rock the league and its TV networks.
Just recently videos uploaded to YouTube and other social media websites show fans burning NFL team memorabilia following on-field protests during the national anthem on Sunday, Sept. 24.
At least 100 players on different teams across the league on Sunday knelt or sat down during the national anthem. Some teams, including the Pittsburgh Steelers (except for one player, Alejandro Villanueva), the Seattle Seahawks, and the Tennessee Titans stayed off the field during the national anthem.
The anthem protests were started last season when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick knelt during preseason games, drawing intense media scrutiny. Kaepernick and others said they were protesting against police brutality and racism in the United States. But many critics have said that the protest shows disrespect to the national anthem and the United States itself.
In reaction to the political protests in NFL games, one man, a master electrician from Texas and Pittsburgh Steelers fan who said his name is Robert L. Williams, said he’s “done with the NFL” before setting his NFL memorabilia on fire in a now-viral video.