If the ratings from Thursday night’s regular season opener are any indication, fans of the National Football League are voting with their remote controls and tuning out as controversial national anthem protests continue into the 2017 season.
For the first time in five years, less that 25 million viewers tuned in for the first game of the season. In fact, the 21.8 million to watch last week’s matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots on NBC represents a 13% drop from the 2016 opener.
The Daily Wire writes:
A 2016 poll from Yahoo Sports revealed that 44% of NFL fans would give up watching professional football altogether if more players followed in Colin Kaepernick’s footsteps by disrespecting the flag.
The ratings from games played on Sunday, the first full day of the regular season, are still outstanding due to delays caused by Hurricane Irma. However, Thursday night’s ratings appear to show fans are standing by the poll results.
Could it be that sports fans just want to see sports and not politics? The NFL should be paying attention to the problems faced by ESPN as general sports fans are tuning out from the cable giant as well. Getting involved in legislative battles and issuing threats to the State of Texas over transgender bathroom policies earlier this year, for example, certainly doesn’t make the NFL appear neutral on the issues.