In 2017, when politics, social media, television, and modern day activism have combined to hijack the once untouchable bastion known as the National Football League, there is one player left to have their say. It’s the player that yields the most power in the long term: The Almighty Dollar.
On Wednesday, Papa John’s, one of the core advertisement partners of the NFL, announced that it’s pulling its ads with the NFL due to “negative consumer sentiment.”
As recently as a year ago, Papa John’s commercials starring Peyton Manning, J.J. Watt, and Joe Montana were airing every few minutes. Those are three of the greatest players in the history of the universe. A year later, Papa John’s is bailing on the NFL amid a personal loss of $70 million by the Papa John’s founder, John Schnatter.
NFL ratings are plummeting. ESPN will no longer be able to afford broadcasting Monday Night Football. Ratings were down in every single time category this past week, and have been dropping since 2015.
Colin Kaepernick’s protest has spearheaded a mass movement in the NFL, and other sports to an extent. The biggest shockwave has hit the NFL, obviously, and the people who pay the bills are meeting their limit. The National Anthem/Kaepernick/influx of politics is ultimately looking like the straw the broke the camel’s back, along with a multitude of longstanding factors that are turning off Joe Superfan from his once beloved NFL. The core of those who feed the NFL money machine are jaded. The extensive list of reasons is as follows:
They are tired of being vastly overpriced for tickets
They are tired of an on field product that’s poorer by the year
They are tired of paying cable and satellite TV companies exorbitant prices to watch games
They are tired of paying $50 to park within 3 miles of the home team’s stadium
They are tired or paying $10 for a beer at the game
They are tired of increasing ticket prices every single year, like at Lambeau Field
All of the above have been the mainstays for years. Fans have continuously been willing to pay a little more every year to watch and support their teams. It’s inflation. Everyone expects it. However, the bubble is finally appearing to burst, slowly but surely, with the Goliath once known as the NFL. Fans will pay for entertainment. They will pay for hope. They will pay for camaraderie. They will pay for pride.
Yet, in 2017, the payments have stopped because of the following:
They will not pay to be called ignorant after they have thrown their collective heart and money into a team for decades, only to be priced out from going to games.
They will not pay to be called racist and ignorant by their hometown players based off of general, baseless trends on social media
They will not pay when advertisers of the hometown team support the rhetoric that alienates them
The peasants as a whole have the power. The money is starting to dry up from the once “Too Big To Fail” NFL. Major advertisers are bailing. ESPN is dying from paying too much money to air NFL games. Stadiums are emptier each week. Papa John’s can’t bail fast enough. Other major companies will follow.
Ratings are down each week. Jerry Jones is pushing for Roger Goodell’s ouster because the money is drying up. The NFL owners are panicking. They know their golden goose has flown off, and they’re going to make every damned attempt to save face.
Eventually, this will make the games cheaper. TV subscriptions will drop. Joe Blow won’t be fleeced as much as he has in the past 30 years to catch a game with the hometown team.
Aaron Rodgers will retire and the vast majority of the millennial fanbase will bail. Ticket prices will keep plummeting.
And they should. The market eventually evens itself out.
________________John Piotrowski is a UW-Eau Claire alum, spending most of his life in western WI. He makes the trek east to Lambeau whenever possible. Follow him on twitter at @piosGBP.