A new poll shows 33% of fans have purposefully made the decision to stop watching National Football League broadcasts this year. Overall television ratings are down 9.7% for the league compared to the previous season. NBC, the network that will air Super Bowl LII, is hoping for $500 million in ad revenues from the big game, yet ad slots remain to be sold just three weeks out.
What is a producer to do?
If that producer is NBC’s Fred Gaudelli, he’ll shore up the bottom line by reigniting the national anthem protest controversy. After all, controversy equals eyeballs and eyeballs equal ad sales.
Earlier this week, Gaudelli told attendees at an industry event, “When you are covering a live event, you are covering what’s happening. If there are players who choose to kneel, they will be shown live.”
He added the broadcast team would most likely provide commentary on the protests and the players involved.
Don’t hold your breath in hopes the commentary accurately portrays the NFL’s decision to funnel almost $100 million to the players’ “social justice” causes, which history suggests could be tied to George Soros-founded activist organizations.
Ironically, another NBC executive warned broadcasters earlier in the season that advertisers were not happy with the coverage of the anthem protests. Chairman of advertising sales Linda Yaccarino said major advertisers were telling her network, “We will not be part of the NFL if you continue covering it.”
Is Gaudelli’s promise to cover the anthem protests a subtle pitch to wavering advertisers? In some ways, he appears to be saying, “We’re more than happy to drum up controversy so you don’t want to miss this opportunity.”
Of course, the NFL has essentially institutionalized the anthem protests this season leading to disastrous results for the league’s brand. It makes us wonder if the league offices might be on board with Gaudelli’s pitch in a desperate, and callous, attempt to revive ratings.
Should the NFL make a stand on the anthem protests? Use this link to contact the league offices directly and tell them what decision you’ll be making when it comes to watching Super Bowl LII.