The mighty NFL — a TV-ratings juggernaut that commanded billion-dollar contracts from major networks — is now viewed less favorably than Major League Baseball, college football and basketball, and the NBA.
As recently as August, the NFL was flying high. But the anthem protests and the arrogant response of owners and players have driven down the league’s favorable numbers in September and they’re now nearly underwater.
The Winston Poll from the Washington-based Winston Group found that the attitude of those fans went from an August rating of 73 percent favorable and 19 percent unfavorable to 42 percent favorable and 47 percent unfavorable, a remarkable turn against the sport.
According to the poll analysis, “more critically for the NFL, the fall off in favorables occurred among important audiences. Among males, NFL favorables fell 23 percent, going from 68 percent to 45 percent. In looking at a more specific audience, males 34-54, NFL favorables fell 31 percent, going from 73 percent to 42 percent. Among this group the NFL has a surprising negative image, as it went from +54 percent in August to -5 percent in September.”
The Winston Poll was of brand images for the NFL, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, and college football and basketball. It was of 1,000 registered voters and taken August 29-30 and then again September 28-29.
In August, baseball had the highest favorables, just a few points above the NFL.
The change in favorability from August to September proves that there can be no other rational explanation for the drop than the anthem protests.