Minneapolis, MN/USA January 14, 2018- Protester holds a sign as part of the playoffs national anthem protest at US Bank Stadium.

One nation, divisible and justice for some: A troubled year for the NFL

5 mins read

American Football had a rough year that leaves owners and investors worried about the future of the National Football League.

And they should be concerned. This year marks the first time that the NFL lost money.

Now, entangled in political and cultural instability on every level, its internal turmoil and destabilized infrastructure affects its economics. Today’s Super Bowl will tell just how dire the situation.

Although, the Super Bowl signifies the height of the season, many football enthusiasts and even advertisers tapped out long before it even started.

Chigozie Onyema, an attorney and organizer based in Newark who played and watched football his whole life talks about his increasing disinterest.

“I didn’t watch [football] at all [this season] and I’m not going to watch the Super Bowl,” says Onyema. “I wish the [Philadelphia] Eagles the best because I don’t like [the New England Patriot’s quarterback Tom] Brady, but with the racial politics in sports, I can’t. Maybe in the future, but right now, nah.”

Onyema is part of a growing demographic that either reduced watching NFL games or cut off their TVs entirely to boycott. That is why he spends his Sunday’s catching up to news or enjoying a book at his favorite coffee shop, the Black Swan Espresso.

Another trend in boycotting the NFL is that some opt to watch at other people’s homes or in bars to decrease ratings.

Conglomerate Wars

From weekly reports of empty seats, to plummeting TV viewing and advertisers who have left the stadium throughout the season, the NFL needs more than a “Hail Mary” pass and a Justin Timberlake half-time show.

Since 2014, football viewership began to decline due to the frequent cable bundle wars between networks and cable providers, reported the Atlantic .

In September 2017, Comcast, Walt Disney, Fox and CBS—companies that broadcast NFL games, reported stocks falling between 1 percent to 8 percent.

While bidding wars point to a shift in the media landscape, the other concern are the political and cultural disruptions surrounding the game.

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