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NFL Suffers From Declining Ratings

Anoushka Gupta, Staff Writer

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  For many Americans, Sunday afternoons are synonymous with football. Football has quickly overtook baseball as America’s favorite pastime. In fact, according to a survey done by Gallup News, 37% of Americans have stated that it is their favorite sport. With football being so popular, it’s surprising that the NFL is in serious trouble.

  Viewership has been downhill for the NFL for the past few years. Just this season, ratings fell nearly 10% adding to last season’s 8% drop according to Nielsen data. Even on Thanksgiving, during which watching football has become a tradition, football games received record-low ratings.

  Many are seriously worried that declining ratings will have devastating effects on the NFL. For one, declining ratings means that investors are more likely to reduce spending on ads, which are a major source of revenue for the NFL. Major drug companies Viagra and Cialis have both announced they will not play ads next season despite spending almost $50 million dollars on ads last season. Numerous other companies have also stated their intentions to decrease spending on NFL ads.

  With NFL being such a major part of American culture, many have become upset over what this may mean for the future of football. President Donald Trump has claimed that the diminishing ratings are because of the protests during the national anthem. Earlier this year, Trump called for a boycott on the NFL due to Colin Kaepernick’s protests, tweeting, If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!”

  Fans of football have been developing their own reasons for why viewership is down. Long-time Patriots fan Isha Pendum (10) says, “I think viewership [is] down this season because a lot of the major teams haven’t been performing well or even made it to postseason. Since big name teams, like the Cowboys, that have large fan bases aren’t there, viewership is obviously down.”

  It is also likely that NFL ratings are down because most cable TV networks have seen a decline in viewership. This phenomena, known as cord-cutting, has arisen due to the rise of alternative options such as Netflix and is especially popular with younger generations. Johanna Liu (10), a high school student, says, “It costs a lot for cable television, and you only get to watch a few shows, so I feel like online providers like Netflix are better.”

  Whatever the reason may be, the fact of the matter is that NFL ratings are falling, and no knows what this will mean for the future of football.  

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