Another Monday morning and its another come to Jesus moment for the NFL.
While the TV networks stopped showing the National Anthem protests, in the hopes that people will forget about them, social media has done a spectacular job of showing how far attendance is off.
On Twitter #emptyseats shows images from around the league of empty sections of field level seats, while the upper bowls of these stadia are quite empty.
The owners for their part in this are not hurting too badly, since many of these empty seats may be paid for this year. An example of this would be the NY Giants.
While the team is pitiful at 1-7 and the weather yesterday was lousy with rain, the game was a sellout like all Giant games, despite the empty seats. Now of course revenue from beer and food is probably way down, but that probably hurts the vendors who pay the team upfront to win the contract.
However, in other venues around the country teams are not guaranteed a sell out and rely on game-day ticket sales. An example of that would be the field-level seats behind the Fox TV announcing team at Sunday’s Carolina-Atlanta game (see above photo).
I have no empirical data on this, but I believe the NFL has always attracted a more male Republican audience that most any other nationally televised sport. Hockey has too small an audience when compared to football to matter.
So given the NFL’s demographic, you can see why both attendance and TV ratings have cratered this year as a result of the Anthem Attack. Heck even legendary sports commentator Vin Scully has stated he will not watch another NFL game because of the disrespect to the flag.
I found it interesting beginning with the Thursday Night game between the NY Jets and the Buffalo Bills that the NFL Players Association — its players union — put out a public service announcement, which was broadcast during the game with NFL players praising the military.
No big name players were involved with the ad however. The players were probably on the level of those picked in the 3rd- or 4th-round of a fantasy league draft. But at least the union felt a need to address the issue and not bury their head.