With ratings in the tank for NFL games, the next shoe is dropping as we speak.
Ad prices for broadcasts of National Football League games are dropping like a stone, as well.
After all, if nobody’s watching, then nobody’s going to pay a premium for an ad.
Prices for advertising during televised broadcasts are down a almost 7 percent across the league for all TV ads bought each quarter.
The industry publication Broadcasting & Cable reported that the cost of a commercial spot is down 6.7 percent.
Sure rampant injuries plague the league, but the National Anthem controversy seems to be behind the ratings – and pricing – slump.
The data research company SQAD reports that so far this season:
“Among the networks that carry NFL games, only NBC is showing an increase over last year in commercial prices. Spots on NBC are selling for between $716,489 and $878,778 for 30 seconds, an increase of 13.75% from last year.
Despite the gains at NBC, across all networks that carry the NFL, spot prices are down 6.7% compared to a year ago.
Spots on CBS’s NFL games were down 19.16% to a range of $313,847 to $366,965. On ESPN, unit costs on Monday Night Football were down 15.67% to a range of $262,905 to $319,0868.
With the protests still front-page news, the National Football League has gone from one of America’s most favorite sports to one of its least. In a recent poll, their favorability rating dropped by a whopping 31 percent.
The pizza franchise Papa John’s blames the NFL slump on their own downturn in sales.
The company CEO, “Papa” John Schnatter – a longtime Trump supporter – said that the NFL’s failure to “resol[ve] the current debacle to the players’ and owners’ satisfaction… has hurt Papa John’s shareholders.” He referred also to “the ongoing situation” and “the issue” and said, “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.” Papa John’s shares fell more than 8% after his comments.
Presumably “the issue” refers to the player protests over racism and police-involved shootings during the national anthem. Neither he nor his executives, though, identified precisely what was causing Papa John’s partnership with the NFL to become a problem—a headwind instead of a tailwind, in investor-speak. They spoke only of their desire to see a resolution. Schnatter, who has donated to President Trump among a slew of other Republicans and presumably has no warm feelings toward the protests, had every chance to blame the kneelers—and he passed it up. Instead, without naming him, Schnatter blamed Roger Goodell: “Good or bad, leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership.”
Money talks. And in the television industry, without eyeballs on the screen, there’s no money and the money dries up. The NFL need to get a handle on their games, their players and the protests or they might see their league go the way of the USFL and into the history books.
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