CBS' and Fox's projected earnings will suffer a hit, according to two separate reports by Credit Suisse, and falling NFL ratings will continue to impact network earnings so long as they are on a downward trend.
Why are earnings suffering?
CBS' crashing NFL ratings will directly impact company earnings, Omar Sheikh, Credit Suisse analyst, said.
"We expect third-quarter network advertising to decline 3 percent (previously +1 percent), driven by soft ratings for both the summer schedule and for the start of the NFL season," Sheikh said, according to CNBC. "With only one of the three content licensing deals we expected for the second half announced in third quarter, we also expect content licensing revenue growth to be skewed to the fourth quarter."
CBS' NFL ratings are down 17 percent from year over year.
Sheikh said that Fox is also beginning to feel the effects of tumbling NFL ratings and will continue to do so if ratings aren't pulled up — and soon.
"NFL ratings [are] weak so far," Sheikh said. "This was negatively impacted during the first two weeks by hurricane disruption, but is disappointing given the soft comps – if ratings do not improve materially, we see a potential headwind to domestic advertising revenues in Q2/Q3 '18."
Fox's NFL ratings are down 7 percent for the first five weeks of the season year over year.
What are people saying about the current state of the NFL?
According to President Donald Trump, ratings are down because of the NFL player protests.
Trump in September tweeted, "NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S."
...NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country. League should back U.S.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
ESPN's Adam Schefter noted last week that the NFL is in a "very volatile and dangerous place."
"It is very sensitive. It is chipping away at the popularity of the sport," Schefter added. "There are people who are turned off to what’s happening. There are people canceling their DirecTV subscriptions."