It’s been on the news a lot this year, NFL viewership is down. The once mighty beast that no one thought could be slayed has been taken down…a little. The odd part is the NFL doesn’t seem to know why they are struggling. Despite all the money they make and all the power they have, they simply can’t figure out why viewership is down. They’ve blamed it on the election, the World Series and other events that have stolen their thunder. But if they don’t know what is going on then how do they expect to fix it? This is a situation that no business wants to be in because their hopes are simply in the hands of fate and wishful thinking.
I personally think there is something bigger going on. First off, the leagues decision making process, in particular the commissioner himself, has been very suspect. Punishment seems to be on a whim and has no basis in reality. You can get suspended for a whole year for spanking your child but only get a one game suspension for constantly beating you wife. People notice these things and we aren’t stupid as the NFL seems to think we are.
There is also the issue of officiating. I understand the officials have a difficult job but that is an overused excuse. Other leagues have the same difficulties but their officiating is way better. This is an issue that has dogged the NFL for a long time now and nothing has been done about it. The rules in the NFL are so gray anymore teams can win or loose a game simply over a series of bad judgment calls. It shouldn’t be this way. Everyone should be on the same even footing.
Next there is the issue of fun. Many are calling the NFL the No Fun League. They’ve taking punishment of celebrations to whole new level. Certain celebrations are penalized while others are fine for seemingly no reason. For example, you can’t spike the ball after a first down but you can spin it. Seriously, who comes up with this garbage. It is out of control and the NFL has forgotten the industry they are in. They are in the entertainment industry. If their product is no longer fun to watch, then no one will watch it.
There is also the problem of commercialization. The NFL wants to charge a massive premium to networks to show their games. The networks then have to show just as many ads as they do the game itself in order to make money. There is also the fact you can’t watch the NFL through modern means. Other leagues like the NHL and MLB have apps on numerous devices that allow you to pay a yearly fee to see every game on any device they support. The NFL has no such service. They are still in the land of exclusivity on an old archaic satellite service called Direct TV. They need to offer the NFL ticket as a stand alone service available through apps on any device. While your at it, lower the price for the service and the fee you charge the networks so we can see more game than commercials.
This will never happen of course and it is another reason the NFL is dying. Ticket prices anymore are outrageous and getting worse every year. Players constantly want paid massive contracts due to the fact their bodies will be permanently damaged by the game. I don’t blame them, but this creates a need to raise massive capital. Inevitably it turns people away either due to ticket prices, excessive use of commercials or exclusivity deals offered to the highest bidder. Note to the NFL, we don’t want to do business with just your exclusive partners. Who your in bed with matters little to us.
At the end of the day, the NFL is killing itself. Unlike what they want to believe they are in fact committing their own suicide. That being said, there will still be plenty of people who will watch games and go see their favorite team on Sunday. I just don’t see much room for the NFL to grow and the chances of declines are greater than future gains. We will see where ratings end up at the end of this year and most likely they won’t be the 10 to 20% declines they have so far. I hope the NFL will finally see the light and fix their many problems.