Rush Limbaugh

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RUSH: Everybody — and I mean everybody — is trying to figure out why the NFL is hemorrhaging viewers.  Perhaps you’ve talked to friends about it.  Perhaps you’ve heard it discussed on places like ESPN.  You want to talk about a place that’s been totally politically corrupted, whoa!  ESPN, my God, that place is as left wing as ABC or CBS is.  But I digress. 

How many of you have found yourself in the midst of a discussion on why the NFL is losing viewers?  And it’s serious.  These Monday night games and Sunday night games are, in some cases, down 25% from the previous year!  There some time periods where they’re holding steady or gaining a little. The Packers-Cowboys game on Sunday afternoon was okay.  I think that showed similar audience from the same game, whatever the game was, same time slot same day last season. 

But for the most part it’s serious.  We are getting to the point where the television networks might have to start thinking about giving away free commercials to sponsors to make up for the audience not being delivered this season and that the sponsors have paid for.  I mean, if you’re being hit up, say you’re Ford or Budweiser, you’re advertising in the NFL, you’re guaranteed an audience, and for the guarantee you’re charged X-amount and you pay for it. 

If the audience isn’t delivered consistently, they owe you what are called make-goods.  They have to give you free commercials elsewhere during the broadcast day to equal the value that you’ve paid for to reach the eyeballs that you’ve missed.  We’re not there yet, but we’re close. 

But my point is this.  In all of the discussions that you’ve heard about why the NFL is hemorrhaging audience, there’s one thing nobody mentions:  Colin Kaepernick and the other players protesting the flag, protesting during the national anthem before games.  All of the, quote, unquote, smart people, “No, no, no, no, that has nothing to do with it!  Get serious.” 

And the reasons that are offered instead, “Well, you know what?  It’s just overexposure.  It’s the Thursday night games, man.  It’s just too much football.  It’s not special anymore.”  Wait a minute.  The Thursday night games, this is the third or fourth year of that.  Thursday night games are not new.  They’ve been around three or four years.  I mean every Thursday night.  There have always been Thursday night games, two or three during the season plus Thanksgiving; but now they’re regular.  But that’s been the case two or three years. 

“Okay, well, you know, the matchups haven’t been really that good.”  Okay, now, there may be something to that.  I mean, a Sunday night game between the Houston Texas and the Indianapolis Colts, yeah, maybe.  And then they say there’s a lack of stars.  You know, Romo is not playing; Brady was suspended.  Well, that is what they’re saying.  They are saying that a lack of stars and that — (interruption) Yeah, but he’s not a big name yet.  Dak Prescott, yeah, he’s killing it, but he’s not a nationwide name yet.  He’s on his way. 

But that obscures the fact, what do you mean?  Who cares?  The Cowboys are winning!  That would make them a huge TV draw, as last Sunday against the Packers showed!  And it didn’t take Romo.  Romo didn’t have to play for that game to rate well.  So we throw out the fact that the big names are on the bench. 

So they’ve got all of these theories, “Yeah, the matchups haven’t been good, they’re overexposed, that’s what it is, Rush, there just too many games out there.  It’s not special anymore!”  Nobody in the know that I talk to, and I know a lot of people in the know, will even reference these protests.  I don’t care what their politics are, they don’t even go there.  And yet that’s the number one reason!  It’s the number one reason and nobody wants to talk about it! 

The NFL doesn’t even want it in the list of possibilities.  The broadcast networks don’t even want it in the list of possibilities.  That’s why when they discuss this, “Well, you know, Rush there’s just too much football out there.  It’s overexposed.  Nobody wants to watch these Thursday games.”  You know, I don’t think overexposure is it.  I think the way some games are broadcast is a turnoff.  You got commentators that won’t shut up.  I mean, you’ve got TV cameras designed to show us the action and they don’t do that.  They show us fans in the stands.  They show us commercials, all these penalty flags flying, all these interruptions in play, all these replays.  No rhythm. 

There’s all kinds of reasons that might be a factor, but clearly the players protesting the country is a big one.  Well, now, we’ve got evidence.  “Yahoo Sports: Fans Watching Fewer NFL Games Cite Protests as Primary Reason — Ratings in the NFL, while still stronger than any other challenger on the television landscape, continue to decline, and a new survey by Yahoo Sports and YouGov discerns several reasons why.

“In a survey of 1,136 Americans who identified themselves as NFL fans, 29 percent said they are watching fewer NFL games. (Interestingly, 27 percent said they were watching more, though that does not necessarily correlate only a 2 percent net loss.) The fans claiming they watch less of the NFL cited the following reasons,” in this order. “Protests by Colin Kaepernick and others. Lack of opportunity to watch the NFL.” Well how does that go with it being overexposed?  Number three reason, “I just lost interest in it.”  And number four, “The presidential election.” 

Oh, that’s right.  The NFL and its partners say the presidential election is the main reason people are not watching football games.  Is that right?  The campaign, people are actually turning off football on Sunday afternoon to cruise around, surf around news channels to watch the campaign?  And Thursday night they’re doing the same thing, they’re turning off football and cruising news channels for news from the campaign? 

Anyway, it’s staring everybody in the face, and the number one reason they don’t even want referenced, and here’s evidence.  It’s the protests and the fact that people who watch the NFL simply don’t want to watch their country disrespected while they take the occasion to watch.


RUSH:  Now, the numbers are 40%. Forty percent of fans say that they’re not watching because of Kaepernick.  Thirty-one percent lack of opportunity to watch.  That doesn’t go with overexposure.  Twenty-eight percent say they’ve lost interest, and 17% say they’re not watching because of the election.  The sports Drive-Bys want you to believe that 70% aren’t watching because of the election.  

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