The first in line being hurt financially by the NFL protests - The TV networks:
Bottom Line: It's no secret that attendance at NFL games has been noticeably different. It's difficult to compare attendance figures at stadiums this early on because of the mix of games played at home by certain teams can skew numbers though overall league attendance is off around 5% year over year. What's more is that about three percent of NFL tickets purchased haven't been used at the games. That's up from around 1% of purchased tickets from last season. At an average cost of $172 per ticket, there typically aren't many people who pay for NFL tickets who don't use them - until this season. But this is just the tip of the Iceberg.
Last year, in the season that the NFL tried to explain away insisting that you just couldn't break yourself away from Hillary Clinton to watch their games (which was proved false anyway when declines continued after the election punctuated by 10 of the 12 postseason games posting declines including the Super Bowl) - the NFL averaged an 8% decline in viewers. With the most recent ratings results in the NFL is putting up significant declines once again. The average decline in viewers through week 5 (the complete week 6 ratings aren't in as of this entry) has been an additional 7% year-over-year.
The NFL's total decline in viewership is now 18% over 2015
That's nearly 1 in 5 football fans two years ago that have said goodbye to the NFL! Now we're starting to see it show up in the pocket of those who have a vested interest from CNBC: Declining NFL television ratings will lower CBS earnings, according to Credit Suisse. The firm cut its third-quarter EPS estimates by 5 percent, citing CBS' softer Sunday NFL ratings. The media company reports on Nov. 2.
DirecTV's results (now part of AT&T's) results were also extremely disappointing. They didn't break out the cancellations to the NFL Sunday Ticket in those results but based on everything else we're seeing you can reliably guess it isn't going well. The majority of the NFL's money is locked in via long-term TV deals so the impact ironically isn't felt as much by the NFL and the teams. But those on the front line, the TV networks are certainly starting to feel it.