15% - How many fans the NFL has lost:

15% - How many fans the NFL has lost: 

Bottom Line: There are two sides to every story and one side to facts (as I often point out). The NFL is an example of this. There were/are plenty of excuses for the NFL's ratings decline of 8% in 2016. The most common one was the election that prevented Americans from apparently being able to change channels to football games. Now of course that didn't explain the ratings declines of 10 of 12 playoff games and the Super Bowl but what the heck? Naturally the ratings have rebounded without the election this year...Oh wait they're down another 7% from last year's numbers. Through week seven of the NFL season TV ratings are now 18% lower than two years ago. That's a fact regardless of how the league attempts to spin it. Here's another one. Gallup last conducted an accredited survey of sports fandom in the US in 2012. The change over five years for many sports is interesting but none more so than the lost support of the NFL.  

Here's the question posed by Gallup:  

For each of the following, please say whether you are a fan of that sport or not: 

Olympic sports 

2012: 75% 

2017: 63% 


Professional football 

2012: 67% 

2017: 57% 


College football 

2012: 54% 

2017: 56% 


Professional baseball 

2012: 53%

2017: 51% 


Professional basketball 

2012: 37%

2017: 40%


College basketball 

2012: 40%

2017: 38%


Auto racing 

2012: 28%

2017: 32%


Professional ice hockey 

2012: 24%

2017: 28%


Professional soccer 

2012: 23%

2017: 28%


Your winners are:  



Auto Racing 


College Football 

Your losers are: 




College Basketball 

In the mist of the NFL debate is this nugget. The NFL ratings peak wasn't 2012. It was 2015. Gallup's info shows a 15% loss of fans over the 2012 levels. For perspective, NFL ratings indicated that there were 3 million more people who tuned into the NFL in 2015 over 2012. This is the next and perhaps most instructive point. The 18% decline in ratings might not be a temporary thing. If fans are gone it might simply be part of a permanent trend. If that's the case the NFL and its players will have one heck of an expensive protest on its hands. 18% of the NFL's revenue is more than $2.5 billion per year. Again, the only one's really being impacted at this early stage are the TV networks having to deal with the ratings loss. Overtime, everyone associated with the league will feel it. 

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