Last year, the NFL experienced its highest ever ratings for the opening week of the regular season – a new record of 15.6 million viewers, an 11 percent increase over the number who watched the first week of the previous year. And the trend continued throughout the season, with the Super Bowl setting a new ratings record in 2015 with 111 million viewers.
The NFL has been in a battle with itself for a while now, as the league and its teams have struggled to find a way to make football more interesting to its massive fan base. The problem has been that many of the games are too predictable, and that fans have grown weary of the same names and faces come game day. No one believes that the NFL is going to pull a season-ending upset this year, but the league is going to have some tough times ahead of them.
The NFL has announced that it will be allowing a team of players to kneel during the national anthem, on the grounds that it makes the players feel “more free.” Sound familiar? In June 2016, the NFL made a similar announcement that it would be allowing players to kneel during the national anthem. In this case, players were kneeling to protest police brutality, and the standing NFL announced that it was fine with players protesting during the anthem.
This has now become a legitimate issue. What will happen during the national anthem at sporting events, especially in the NFL? The events before the game often overshadowed the game itself, causing angry fans to threaten to boycott the game.
While the NFL and its players use the Star-Spangled Banner as a platform for their social justice measures, many fans express their dissatisfaction in one way or another. When players kneel or join hands instead of holding the traditional hand over the heart, there is usually talk that does not bode well for the sport. The NFL is about to take a hit in the ratings with the latest on Anthem and social justice.
Denver Broncos players observe a moment of silence in honor of former Denver Broncos middle linebacker and Hall of Fame member Floyd Little before the national anthem at Empower Field at Mile High on the 3rd. January 2021 in Denver.
(Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the NFL is reintroducing the black national anthem as part of a $250 million, 10-year commitment to fight racism in America. Prior to last year’s season opener between the Houston Texans and the Kansas City Chiefs, Alicia Keys sang the song Raise All Voices and Sing, also known as the black national anthem.
The NFL has been in turmoil since the murder of George Floyd on the 25th. May 2020 had a strong emphasis on racial equality, although former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick had tried to do the same in 2016. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has admitted that the NFL did not listen carefully to its players, including Kaepernick, in their peaceful protest against social injustice.
Before the season begins, when the Dallas Cowboys play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Black Anthem will be played again. He will be heard at other high-profile events like the Super Bowl and the Pro Bowl. According to the New York Post, the league will continue to promote social justice through signs on the field, stickers on the player’s helmet and social advertising in the stadiums.
In terms of ratings, there is nothing good about the NFL’s decision to promote the black national anthem and other ideas of social justice. The NFL is trying to do the right thing, but any discussion of the national anthem is bad for ratings. People who are not football fans will not watch television because a black anthem is being played, but many football fans will turn away if they disagree with the league’s message.
During last year’s season, which was interrupted by the pandemic, the NBA got excited about social justice and ratings plummeted. Although ratings have improved slightly this year, they are nowhere near as high as they were before COVID-19. According to Sportico, the NBA has lost a quarter of its television viewers in the past two years. According to Forbes, the price of the NBA Finals has dropped 49% in the past year.
While such a sharp decline cannot be attributed solely to reports of racial inequality, a Harris Poll conducted in September found that 39% of fans have started watching fewer NBA games. Most of them (38%) felt that the League had become too political. The NBA has quickly moved away from social justice slogans on the back of jerseys and written messages on the court.
The NFL needs to learn from the NBA. Sports fans want to watch sports. They want to escape the drama. Although the league is trying to do the right thing, it will only alienate fans.
Instead of adding another hymn, it might be better to delete one more. The discussion of national anthems only divides people. Ask Drew Breeze.
The former New Orleans Saints quarterback was asked what he thinks of players kneeling during the national anthem. He considered kneeling a sign of disrespect. I will never accept that anyone disrespects the flag of the United States of America or our country, Brice said. Soon after, his teammates and other players in the league abandoned him.
Any opinion on the anthem will lead to someone disapproving of it later. This creates more division than unity.
At one point, Mark Cuban temporarily stopped playing the national anthem for the Dallas Mavericks’ home games. As he listened to the crowd, several people expressed concern, real concern, that the anthem did not fully represent them, that their voices were not being heard, he told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols.
The NFL is trying to do what it should have done five years ago. A group of Kaepernick fans will criticize the league for this. The anti-buyers will tell them to shut up. Sometimes it can be effective in starting a conversation about a sensitive issue, but as we have seen with the discussions about the national anthem, it only leads to division and alienation. Check the evaluations in a few months.
COMPARED TO: Before Colin Kapernick, there was Mahmud Abdul-Rauf, who avoided the national anthem
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- nfl ratings 2018
- nfl tv ratings by year
- nfl viewership 2018
- nfl attendance
- nfl attendance 2018