A new survey released by J.D. Power revealed the number one reason that NFL ratings dropped last season. Is anyone shocked to learn that player protests during the playing of the national anthem were the reason? No, no one is shocked.
ESPN reported that the poll asked more than 9,200 people who attended either one football, basketball or hockey game whether they tuned into fewer games and why. Twenty-six percent of those respondents who watched fewer games last season pointed to the anthem protests as the reason.
The next highest percentage of respondents who said they watched fewer games, 24 percent, said they did so because of either the league's image issues with domestic violence or with game delays, including penalties.
Third highest, 20 percent, named excessive advertising.
Former San Francisco 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began taking a knee during the playing of the anthem to protest what he believes is America's oppression of "people of color," can be credited with kicking off the protests in the NFL. Others followed suit, not only in the NFL but among some players at the college and high school levels. The protests drew outrage from patriotic fans across the country.
ESPN has more details about the poll:
The poll noted that only 12 percent of the fans it surveyed said they watched fewer NFL games last season, with 27 percent of people saying they watched more and 62 percent saying they watched just as much as they had the season before.
NFL game viewership on networks that broadcast games was down an average of 8 percent for the 2016 regular season versus the season before. Before the election (Nov. 8), games for the first nine weeks were down 14 percent compared to 2015. The final eight weeks saw only a drop of 1 percent compared to Weeks 10-17 in 2015.