Poll: Amid protest controversy, significant share of ‘NFL fans’ won’t be watching the Super Bowl

Poll: Amid protest controversy, significant share of ‘NFL fans’ won’t be watching the Super Bowl
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A new Seton Hall Sports Poll shows that interest in the Super Bowl appears to be waning, and its results reported that 16 percent of those who considered themselves to be close followers of the NFL will not watch Sunday’s Super Bowl LII between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots.

What are the details?

The survey reported that 54 percent of those polled planned to watch the Super Bowl, a 14 percent drop from the 68 percent who said they planned to watch the game when surveyed two years ago.

Of those people surveyed who said they “closely follow” the NFL, a group the report’s authors called “NFL fans,” 16 percent said that they would not be watching the big annual game.

The poll did not reveal the reason behind why those who said they would not watch the game were choosing to abstain.

Pollsters did, however, ask if those surveyed approved, disapproved, or had no opinion on the controversial national anthem protests. While only 27 percent of people polled said they approved of the national anthem protests, 44 percent of people polled said that they did not approve of the protests, and 25 percent had no opinion.

Rick Gentile, director of the Seton Hall Sports Poll, called the 16 percent figure a  “significant number”:

16 [percent] of people who identify themselves as NFL fans is a significant number and reflects the trend of declining ratings that we’ve seen all season. That this seems to be impacting Super Bowl viewership should be a concern to the league, the broadcasters and especially the advertisers.

Pollsters surveyed 706 Americans over a period of three days at the end of January. The poll, which was conducted via cellphones and landlines, has a 3.8 percent margin of error.

Anything else?

USA Today reported in January that the overall average audience for NFL games dropped 10 percent in 2017, following an 8 percent drop in 2016.

Another January poll by Survey Monkey and OZY Media determined that 33 percent of NFL viewers intentionally stopped watching the regular 2017 season for varying reasons.