NFL Ticket Sales Plummet After National Anthem Protests

By Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan Pentchoukov
Ivan has reported for The Epoch Times on a variety of topics since 2011.
September 30, 2017 Updated: September 30, 2017

National Football League fans are voting with their wallets after a wave of national anthem protests this week.

Ticket sales for NFL games plummeted 18 percent this week compared to last week, according to online ticket reseller TickPick, the Washington Examiner reported. That drop is significantly larger than usual for the time period. Last year sales dropped 11 percent from the second to third week.

“We have seen a massive decrease in NFL ticket purchases this past week in comparison to years past,” said Jack Slingland with TickPick. “Week 3 seems to usually have less ticket orders than week 2, but this year ticket purchases are down more than 7 percent from this time last year.”

The decline in ticket sales was accompanied by a decline in television viewership ratings. NFL ratings were down 11 percent at the three-week mark compared to the same time last year. That trend is a continuation of a yearlong slide that started last year, with ratings falling 8 percent compared to 2015.

Epoch Times Photo
Maurice Smith No. 27 and Julius Thomas No. 89 kneel with Jarvis Landry No. 14 of the Miami Dolphins during the national anthem prior to an NFL game against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium on Sept. 24, 2017, in East Rutherford, N.J. (Steven Ryan/Getty Images)

Slingard couldn’t put a finger on the cause of the drop in ticket sales but noted that the national conversation this week  focused on the players’ protests of the national anthem.

“While we can’t specify if this decrease is due to the president’s comments, player and owner protests, play on the field, or simply the continued division of consumer’s media attention, the conversation around the NFL this week has focused on the president’s comments as well as the players’ and owners’ reaction,” Slingard said.

“As viewers continue to abandon their NFL Sunday habits, both the number of ticket sales and the purchase price of tickets will drop,” he added.

President Donald Trump triggered  an upsurge in the protests by saying that players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired. The players felt the need to respond and team owners mostly let them do as they would. But the sustained outrage from the fans, tumbling ticket sales, dropping ratings, and a slide in brand favorability has league officials scrambling to set football back on a steady course.

Epoch Times Photo
Lane Taylor #65 and Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers kneel while Davante Adams #17 is attended to after being injured in the third quarter against the Chicago Bears at Lambeau Field on Sept. 28, 2017 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The first player to protest during the national anthem was Colin Kaepernick, who sat on a bench during the national anthem in August last year. After his gesture was noticed, Kaepernick faced criticism from fans nationwide and began to kneel during the anthem instead. He never again stood during the national anthem.

Kaepernick said that his motivation for the protest was to raise awareness for police brutality and racial injustice. The quarterback opted out of his contract with the 49ers in 2017, but no team has hired him since.

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Ivan has reported for The Epoch Times on a variety of topics since 2011.