BOOM: NFL Gets MORE Bad News As Players Continue to Kneel

BOOM: NFL Gets MORE Bad News As Players Continue to Kneel

First, the fans noticed that the seats were empty. Then, the official ratings dropped and ESPN and Fox Sports were in a panic, blaming the popularity of college football for the decline in their viewership.

And now it’s the merchandising that’s gone sour.

As reported in the Sports Business Journal, sales for NFL branded merchandise has dropped by at least 20% since 2009. While different reasons have been proposed by a slew of people, many licensed resellers and retired football players and announcers like Vin Scully feel comfortable enough in their positions to say that all support is down due to the anthem protests. Team ProMark is a service that produces branded merchandise for license holders, from bumper stickers to wearable items. The owner of the service, Bill Skinner, said:

“My NFL business has been struggling. As a veteran, I’m bothered by the national anthem protests, so I’ve watched much less NFL.”

But he added that “brick-and-mortar retail is a mess” and that third parties used to sell his items online, but they have been “largely eliminated by the NFL” and that for most of his customers, their licenses to sell NFL pieces are their “most important license.”

Now, we just have to see whether or not the holiday Christmas season will turn things around for these sellers.

Recently, Papa John’s blamed the anthem protests for the downturn in sales of their product which is advertised during NFL games, even though social media users said that sales are down because the pizza is gross.

In September, we wrote about the Steel City Sports store, located in the Rockvale Outlets that specializes in selling merchandise from all of the Pittsburgh teams, including the Pirates, the Penns and branded items from the local University. The store’s owner Susan Moedinger spoke to media when the anthem protests first started to hit her livelihood. On a Monday morning following a Sunday game where the entire Steelers team (except for army veteran Alejandro Villanueva) stayed in their locker room during the anthem, Susan was called up by one of her employees who had opened the store. The staffer said that people were calling in with threats and concerns, and she asked for help in handling their response. Susan said that she wasn’t “terribly political” and that the threats were mostly long time customers saying they will no longer shop at Steel City Sports if they continue to offer Steelers merchandise. There was further controversy when it was perceived that Susan was hiding Villanueva jerseys from the displays and she and her store were labeled “un-American.” Villanueva jerseys had briefly turned into one of the top-selling items in the NFL and only days later he apologized for embarrassing his team in what seemed like a forced apology from an honest man who just wanted to salute the flag under which he served several tours in Afghanistan as a Ranger.

Margaret M.

Internet Specialist at Warfare Media.

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