Now that 2020 is officially over, professional sports leagues may want to reconsider their embrace of divisive leftist politics following a historic ratings collapse.
Even with large parts of the nation locked down and attendance at stadiums and arenas severely limited if not banned entirely, fewer Americans are tuning in to games that not long ago served as a unifying experience until the well was poisoned by a rush to appease activists.
Driven at least partially out of disdain for President Trump and his no-nonsense policies to the human rights-abusing regime in China which represents the biggest future market for pro sports, every major league in America jumped on board with the toxic agenda of the Marxist-inspired Black Lives Matter movement.
When violence and mayhem erupted after a video of the fatal encounter between lifelong criminal and drug addict George Floyd and Minneapolis police went viral, sports leagues rushed to curry favor with BLM by repurposing themselves as armies on the front lines of the crusade to end racism.
But by painting propagandistic BLM slogans on courts and in endzones while suggesting that millions of their own fans were racists in need of reeducating, the geniuses who run the leagues only accomplished the feat of doing lasting and perhaps permanent damage to their brands.
The damage wasn’t just limited to the NBA or NFL either, ALL major sports experienced ratings drops that could fundamentally alter the ability to shower entitled athletes with millions of dollars for playing a game.
The year of the coronavirus was a major disaster for professional sports as every league suffered ratings declines, and lost billions in revenue in 2020.
TV viewership was not off by just a little, either. It was off an average of 50 percent over last year’s numbers. Even though many Americans were stuck at home as their jobs and cities shut down, TV viewership for sports still cratered.
According to Front Office Sports, one of golf’s big games, the U.S. Open, lost 56 percent of its viewers over 2019. Basketball suffered greatly, as well. The NBA finals were down 49 percent over last year. Tennis’ Open also cratered, losing 45 percent over 2019’s games. But the worst of all was Hockey’s Stanley Cup. The NHL’s big game lost a whopping sixty percent over the 2019 championship series.
Thus far the NFL is also cratering, being down at least seven percent over last year. It has been so consistently bad this year that advertisers are starting to rise up to demand concessions for their high advertising spending since viewership has been falling each week.
The ratings this year are so bad that the NFL has been offering “make-goods” to advertisers who spent vast sums of cash to appear on TV during games but are now finding far fewer viewers than they were promised.
The pressure to engage in virtue signaling has cost sports that would normally not be susceptible to leftist racial grievance mongers rushing to commit ratings suicide.
There was the infamous Bubba Wallace garage door pull “noose” hate crime hoax that rocked NASCAR and alienated loyal fans and the NHL was off to a great start in their belated playoff tournament until the league inexplicably called off two days of games in “solidarity” with the NBA and BLM.
The NHL’s message to fans was heard loud and clear: SCREW YOU! The league never recovered leading to a sixty percent plunge in ratings for the Stanley Cup finals.
There is much finger-pointing over the reason for the ratings dumpster fire with those in the media who are sympathetic to the BLM agenda blaming it all on the COVID panic but with millions of fans effectively trapped in their homes, logic and common sense would suggest that they would be glued to their televisions.
TV ratings are the least of the problems facing pro sports, tough. Revenue has imploded
Again, thanks to Front Office Sports, we see that all the big leagues lost billions.
The site reported that Major League Baseball lost $5.2 billion in 2020. Baseball’s loss comes is the Big Leagues became the last major U.S. sport to become woke by joining the extreme progressive movement with constant paeans to Black Lives Matter and so-called social justice causes.
Baseball is far from the only league to lose billions. The National Basketball Association missed its severely lowered revenue projections by $1.5 billion. Major League Soccer’s revenue was down by about one billion. And the National Hockey League lost a more modest $630 million. And as far as football is concerned, it looks like the National Football League will lose upwards of $2.7 billion by the time the 2020 season comes to a merciful close.
With the NFL season lurching to a close, the ratings are down to the point that the league has had to offer discounts to advertisers, an ominous sign with negotiations for new media deals looming on the horizon.
According to Front Office Sports:
The stakes are high. All of the league’s media deals expire after the 2021 and 2022 seasons. There are potentially billions of dollars at stake as the NFL tries to nearly double its $5 billion annual rights fees from media partners ESPN, CBS, NBC, and Fox.
After growing 5% in each of the past two seasons, some TV executives worry the NFL’s 7% drop through the halfway point of 2020 augurs a return to the 2016 and 2017 seasons — when average audiences fell 8% and 10%, respectively.
The league’s decision to go all-in on Black Lives Matter could likely be far worse this year than just tolerating national anthem protests considering how Democrats and media purveyors of hate have weaponized race in an election year and a highly questionable election is only going to lead to more acrimony and demonization of white people.
Is it too late for a course correction?
For millions of fans it isn’t going to matter because they have found better things to do with their time than be lectured about their being racists even if they don’t know it.
For the NFL, the NBA, and other leagues, there is always the Chinese market.