See what happened to the NFL’s popularity after weeks of protests — it definitely isn’t good for business

See what happened to the NFL’s popularity after weeks of protests — it definitely isn’t good for business
The NFL is now the least popular major U.S. sport, a new survey has found. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Once known as “America’s sport,” the NFL is quickly becoming the country’s least popular sporting league, according to a new poll.

What does it show?

After weeks of national anthem protests, the NFL’s popularity dropped from 57 percent favorability to 44 percent favorability from the end of August to the end of September, according to a poll from the Winston Group.

Among all professional and collegiate sports, it is the least popular with an unfavorable rating of 40 percent, the survey said. The poll also found that the protests are driving it’s key demographic, men aged 34-54, away from the sport.

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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.”

What was the difference in just one month?

Among the NFL, NBA, MLB and college football and basketball, the MLB slightly bested the NFL as the most favorable sport in August, followed by college football, college basketball and the NBA.

But in September, the MLB’s popularity grew several points, while college football came in second, the NBA in third, college basketball in fourth and the NFL in last by five points.

What else have the protests done?

While the protests are achieving their goal of bringing more attention to the issue of police brutality and systemic racism in the U.S., the protests have also put a financial burden on the league.

TV ratings and ticket sales both are down because of the protests, which hurts the league overall. Less ratings means less money for the league and teams, same with ticket sales.

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