As the chart below shows, viewership in the NFL has been sliding for years across the entire demographic spectrum so it begs the question: How will the owners and managers of the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire handle the league’s decline phase?
The original article by Charles Hugh Smith has been edited for length (…) and clarity ([ ]) by munKNEE.com to provide a fast & easy read. For all the latest – and best – financial articles sign up (in the top right corner) for your free bi-weekly Market Intelligence Report newsletter (see sample here) or visit our Facebook page.
The problem for the NFL is two-fold: The number of young people who are dedicated NFL viewers
- is modest and, even worse,
- is declining at a fast clip…
Anecdotally, I don’t know a single Millennial who has any interest in:
- sitting through a 2-hour pro football game at home or
- ponying up the big bucks and spending such a huge chunk of time required to attend a game.
Again, anecdotally, young people seem more likely to:
- watch a short clip of the game’s highlights on You Tube than devote 2+ hours to sitting through endless annoying TV adverts for a few moments of action,
- invest their sports-related time and money in college or local sports and,
- if they’re parents, their time may be devoted to their kids’ sports activities.
In other words, pro football is an interest of the older generations that isn’t shared by the younger generations.
We can chart this progression with an S-curve, which in the case of the NFL, is marked by the “boost phase” of viewership in the 1970s and 1980s as Monday Night Football expanded the TV audience and the league added franchises. The league reached a maximum audience some years ago, and has now entered the decline phase.
The NFL’s troubles run even deeper than demographics:
- its fan base is being pressured financially
- while the cost of attending a game keeps rising…
Just in case the NFL didn’t notice, 95% of the populace is experiencing stagnating wages and rising costs of essentials, leaving less and less to blow on luxuries such as NFL games…
Spending is correlated to income, naturally enough. Most of the “recovery” is the result of soaring discretionary spending by the top 5%, not the modest spending that is affordable to the bottom 95%. That means that the advertisers spending big bucks to advertise on NFL TV games are reaching an audience with diminishing cash or credit to spend.
Lastly, the NFL has reached the point of over-saturation. Monday Night Football was an innovation in 1970, but who has time or interest for Thursday night football, Saturday afternoon football, etc.?…
[To repeat?] How will the owners and managers of the multi-billion-dollar NFL empire handle the league’s decline phase?