NFL ratings are declining and have been for the past few years. While the NFL is still the most popular sport in the United States, more and more people are tuning in to something else.
But why are fewer people tuning into the games each week? What is driving this ratings decline?
Survey Monkey asked more than 1,700 people why they stopped watching the NFL. The majority of respondents blamed kneeling. Interestingly, it didn’t matter if they supported players and coaches taking a knee during the national anthem or not. Both sides were turning away from the league.
Of those surveyed, 32 percent said they no longer watched NFL games as a form of protest. They don’t think players and coaches should kneel during the national anthem. Ironically, 22 percent — who are in favor of players using their platform to address social injustice — said they stopped watching as an act of solidarity with the players.
Players kneeling during the national anthem has been a controversial issue since Colin Kaepernick first took a knee in 2016 to protest police brutality. Kaepernick hasn’t played in the NFL since 2017. The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback claimed he was being blackballed by team owners and sued the league. The case was settle 2019 for less than $10 million. The Survey Monkey poll found that 12 percent of people stopped watching the NFL did so because they believe Kaepernick was mistreated.
Ratings for Sunday Night Football during the first two weeks of the season were down 6 percent and 5 percent respectively, Deadline reported. This could mean billions of dollars in lost revenue for television networks that air the games and the NFL.