Nobody’s watching football anymore, this is definitely a thing

The plague of empty seats just keeps spreading and spreading across the NFL. Next up, the Baltimore Ravens:

Thousands of fans are trying to resell their tickets to the sold-out game Sunday against the Detroit Lions at 71,000-seat M&T Bank Stadium via Ticketmaster, the team’s official resale outlet, or StubHub. Seats were available this week in almost every section; an $80 ticket for an upper end zone seat could be had for as little as $29…

“The Ravens are finding themselves in the same situation as a lot of NFL teams this year,” said T.J. Brightman, president of A. Bright Idea, a public relations and marketing firm with offices in Bel Air and California. “There is a disengagement by fans across the country stemming from the daily and weekly stories the NFL league office confronts.”

Brightman, and the Baltimore Sun, blame a laundry list of those “daily and weekly stories,” including: national anthem protests, revelations of traumatic brain injuries as a standard consequence of playing the sport, injuries to key players, ticket resale sites, and hi-def TVs. And if some of that doesn’t particularly make sense (TV ratings are down because more people are staying home to watch TV?), everyone is just throwing guesses at the wall right now, cut them some slack.

The photos available on the Sun site don’t actually show the wide swathes of empty seats that other teams have seen, and fans reselling their seats for a crappy game at a discount is nothing new to sports. Still, it’s an indication that Ravens ticket demand is softening, and the next step after this would be people just buying fewer tickets in the first place. It’ll be another few years before we really have enough data points to tell where this is headed, but let’s just say if you had your money on “football will be the new boxing in our lifetimes,” you’ve got to be feeling pretty good about that bet right now.

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58 comments on “Nobody’s watching football anymore, this is definitely a thing

  1. In my opinion the quality of the product is the biggest factor. I stopped watching the NFL simply because the games are too long, full of plenty’s that determine the game and full of goddamn commercials.

    1. I never really realized that fully until I went to see Washington visit Oakland 9 years ago. I couldn’t believe how many times the game was stopped for nonsense. On TV, you watch the commercials or the hosts talk, so there’s always content. But at the game live, there’s not enough time to run to the bathroom or for a soda, so you sit there waiting for something to happen. I’ll never go back to a NFL game again.

      1. So much better on TV. I’ve been to Patriots and Texans home games and the experience is just not worth it.
        Better than the NBA, but that is just a slight step up from WWE. I’ll stick to NHL and MLB. Both are so much better in person.

    2. My opinion is that ratings are down because the NFL never goes away.

      Once the Super Bowl is over, they have the draft pre-view shows, then the mock drafts, then the drafts, then the OTA, the then training camp, then the pre-season, fantasy draft analysis, then the season, and finally back to the playoffs. All of the stages have TV shows, analysis shows, millions of lines of articles written on every detail.

      It’s just too much. It never goes away so it feeds into the more obsessive fans tastes to bring in the money and by the time the actual season rolls around everyone is just tired of it all, driving away the more casual fans.

      1. Couldn’t agree more. It is nice for a league to have an off season so you miss it and get excited for the new one but as you said the NFL never stops. Is tiring!

      2. Soccer never goes away, and it’s very popular outside of North America.

        On the Spanish language networks in the US, big Mexican League or Mexican National Team games sometimes have NFL-esque Nielsen ratings.

        1. True enough but I wonder if part of it comes from that soccer never really is replaced by anything else. We’re used to one sport taking an offseason while other sports grab the limelight. I can see why the NFL wants to keep their name constantly out there but I think those efforts just contribute to the background noise while other sports are having their seasons. I think that irritates lots of people.

          And even in-season they have those lousy Thursday night games now that nobody seems to really like. They resort to desperate measures like the horrible color rush uniforms to try and get people to pay attention.

    3. About 17 years ago my future wife and future sister in law were biking up on Cape Cod and stopped into a bar to watch a US World Cup qualifier. It was also the opening day for the NFL. The bartender was Irish, and happy to put the soccer game on one of the tvs. One of the patrons watching the Pats game spent the entire game talking about how boring soccer was. It was an exciting qualifier, Brian McBride scored a cracker of a game winner and we were going nuts the whole game.

      As we were leaving (the Pats game started earlier and was still going on when we left, the soccer hater was still going on about how boring soccer was compared to football. He was doing this during a video review of a play that was dragging on. My future wife stood there and told him “I see now why football is much more exciting” and walked out. Hence I decided I had to marry her at that point (actually we were engaged at that point).

  2. I agree with everything that MDL said.

    I watched the soon to be 3-13 Broncos, until the 4th quarter, before I gave up. Jay Cutler got mad at a call, and actually started yelling. I’ve never seen that guy show any emotion at all, but it was a pretty screwy deal.

    When do we play Cleveland? I don’t even think we could beat them. If they managed to score 10 points, they would win.

    Trevor Siemian, and Paxton Lynch, have no business being in the NFL. Expand Goodell, the talent pool is real freaking deep.

  3. It could also be that drunken fan behavior is keeping fans away… all you have to do is check the Billspin tag on Deadspin to see how bad it could get.

    I’ve heard similar stories about pretty much every NFL stadium. Personally I wouldn’t go without plenty of Scotchguard…

    1. This is something I wouldn’t undersell. The games are already crazy expensive, unless you get cheap seats, and if you do you are surrounded by drunken belligerent morons. Sports brings out the absolute worst in some people, but of course the league cannot push those people away because they are also the most profitable and dedicated fans.

    1. This is absolutely the case for live attendance. Sporting events in general are just too expensive to attend when factoring in parking, concessions, and ticket prices. It’s significantly easier and less expensive to get an optimal viewing experience at your house.

      I think this doubles up with the factor that people are just getting burnt out on the NFL. Between the all morning pregame shows and the sheer length of the games. It’s way easier to catch the highlights and be done with it. Between college and pro football, Tuesday I think is the only day there’s no games on (ESPN was showing MAC games on Wednesday nights for a while, not sure if that’s still a thing). With 24/7 coverage and games six nights a week, it’s no wonder people would be burnt out.

      1. If expense were the main issue, you’d think we’d be seeing this even more in other sports, since at least for the NFL it’s a relatively small amount of games, so you can sell out without having to dip too far down out of the 1%.

        Though actually, maybe that’s what we’re seeing here: A bunch of rich people with too much money to burn staking their claim to season tickets, then figuring, “enh, we’ll go to the games when the team is actually good.”

        1. We are seeing it in other sports. Attendance declines are happening in hockey up here in Canada and they’ve never been great outside the original 6 and a few heavy hitters like Pittsburgh down in the US.

          1. Look at the numbers again for hockey. Most teams do very well.I know around here the Blues are well over 90% for most games and sell out a lot of them. Granted they have been good for awhile, but most teams seem to draw.

          2. 17 out of the 31 NHL teams have played to 98% capacity or above so far this season, including 13 of the 24 American teams (last year, 16 of the 30 teams were over 98%)…so, you’re wrong on a lot of fronts there, man.

          3. To be fair, the NFL’s ticket SALES remain strong. What’s at issue here is whether people actually go to the games or not.

            There are several NFL teams which take advantage of the Season Ticket Waiting List myth, so folks renew year after year even if they don’t really go anymore. We’ll see if that weakens.

          4. Right, that’s my question: Are fans buying tickets but not going because they’re afraid they’ll be locked out of future tickets if the team ever gets good? Or buying tickets just in case the team turns out to be good this year?

            Either way, you have to have some serious disposable cash to play either of those games, at these prices.

          5. Fans held onto their Oilers tickets year after year with the promise that the next #1 pick would turn things around. Then the promise was you don’t want to miss out on the new arena.

            By the end of most seasons up until last year, the games were ‘sellouts’ but the arena wasn’t close to full.

  4. An argument against “Football will be the new boxing:”

    Boxing was brought down mostly by the perception that it was hopelessly corrupt and by the alphabet soup of sanctioning organizations and their infighting, which also contributed to the perception of corruption. Brain-damaged boxers like Ali didn’t really enter public perception until after boxing’s downfall.

    Whatever you can say about the NFL, you can’t say the games aren’t on the up-and-up.

    1. Mm. Sort of. It’s not corrupt as boxing in that you can’t have a team “take a fall in the fourth round”, but it is as corrupt in the “Brain injuries are no big deal!”-department.

      I get tired of seeing young people being used as equipment, as if they know what the average career length is for players at each position, and treat that like an investment. These players aren’t shoulder pads or field goal posts or thigh pads; they’re people. I think it’s pretty corrupt then they’re not treated as people.

    2. Boxing was also done in by the fact that its big events aren’t available on even basic cable so they limit their audiences that way. NFL at least hasn’t gotten to that point yet.

  5. Does fantasy football have an impact? I don’t follow the game or play fantasy myself, but almost all football talk I hear is fantasy based. Does this reduce allegiances to clubs and focus more of the fan’s attention on players, so the football experience that these fans want is flipping between 6 games at once rather than focusing on on club?

  6. These are all reasonable theories, but since a lot of them should apply to all modern pro sports, it’d be goos to try to explain why they seem to be hitting football the hardest.

    1. 1. Hardly anyone I know under the age of 35 is into football. That is a huge change.

      2. Guys like me, in their late 50s, are finally catching on to the health risks associated with the game, and losing interest fast.

      In 10 years from now, they’re won’t be any fans under 40 or over 60. If they don’t get those fans back, they’ll be playing in 10,000 seat stadiums.

  7. Well, the pace of play issue and frankly ridiculous state of the video review system (either booth initiated or challenges) affect only the NFL.

    Games used to be played in less than 3 hours. Sometimes MUCH less. Since Yankees/Red Sox always takes 4 hours plus, we can’t say it’s just the duration that matters. But I’ve stopped watching the NFL precisely because the advertising has overwhelmed the product. There has always been a great deal of advertising. But now, after a scoring play we have the immediate commercial break, then the PAT, then another commercial break, then the kickoff, then generally another commercial break. Finally, you can come back from the kitchen after making an omelette and some nachos to find the other team lining up for their first offensive series.

    Unless the QB doesn’t like the defensive alignment and calls a time out…

    The video review system is horribly broken. In the few games I’ve watched in the last two seasons, there were multiple reviewed calls in which legitimate catches were ruled incomplete or in which non calls during live play were determined to be penalties based on a super slo mo review that pretty much no-one saw live.

    The fact of the matter is that the NFL has overtaken MLB in the “no-one seems to know what the rules are anymore thanks to replay” sweepstakes.

    Did your team win or lose last week? Don’t know. Do you want the “official” score or what would have happened if the game hadn’t been stopped 17 times (out of 110-125 plays) to reclassify a wonderful defensive play or tremendous catch as having “not really happened even though you saw it live”.

    The NFL is no longer meaningful entertainment in my book.

    They are also facing increased competition from other sports for tv and in stadium spectators… something that has fragmented all pro sports audiences.

  8. JC:
    Despite the fact that I cringe when I see get hit in the head, and have guilt for supporting the sport, I still enjoy watching games. Must e something in my DNA. I don’t play fantasy (tried once, sucked at it), but for some reason, I will still get sucked into a lousy Thursday Night game. Best invention was the Sunday Night game. I seem to always be tied up on Sunday days, so the night game is perfect to finally sit and relax.

    That said, I won’t go to a game live unless I get free tickets (and only for the Niners, you couldn’t pay me to sit in the stands from hell in Oakland. Did it 25 years and won’t go back.)

    And even with free tiks, I cringe at the thought of fighting traffic, lousy beers that cost as much as a good six pack, lousy food that costs as much as a Michelen starred restaurant, long lines for the restroom (missed nearly an entire quarter waiting in line once) and the excruciating gaps and delays in play (except, it seems, when I am waiting in line for the restroom).

    So much cheaper, more comfortable and viewable at home.

  9. When you look at the TV numbers and empty seats, the only one of these theories that holds water is Anthem protesters.

    In 2016 the NFL had its second-highest viewership ever, and if you discount the pre-election period, it was the NFL’s highest viewership ever.

    This season was on pace to equal or beat last season, until Trump made his comments about Anthem protests on Sept 22. The most watched game of this season was prior to Sept 22, which is the only time on record that the most-watched game of a season was in a week 2.

    Anecdotally, if you look at the video of games prior to the week of Sept 22, you’ll see far fewer empty seats in Dallas, Baltimore, Houston, Pittsburgh and almost every other NFL city.

    I didn’t believe it when the Anthem protesters theory was first brought up a year ago, but the evidence is just too strong. And if the NFL bans Anthem protests (which I think they will, unless Arthur Blank gets his way), you’ll see the League return to and likely exceed its previous attendance and TV numbers.

    1. I was willing to believe the anthem protest theory–but this site compares “comparable” games on a year on year basis. I’m not fully convinced on the methodology, but there’s a lot of red on the 2016 as well–so maybe 2015 was the peak year (corroborated by most ratings sites).

      So beyond the general decline of network viewing, Thursday night games continue to be a ratings disaster–its unclear if the benefits of the “TV tax” on cable viewers forced into this channel are worth it for the NFL.

      Beyond that, you have a lot of beloved teams (Browns, Bears) at a level of despair generally unknown in the parity era, other than by the Lions. A few teams have been ripped from adequate homes and put into the media fishbowl of LA, where we don’t know if they are ever going to be loved–with the Raiders to follow. And a lot of other recently or traditionally solid teams (Giants, Cowboys, Redskins, Colts, Broncos) are pretty pathetic too, which depresses the visiting numbers.

      The NFL has always been a league that liked its share of off field coverage–but that is working against it now. For all the talk of the anthem stuff (which surely may be a small factor), you have the stadium debacles (not a vote winner among the young), the CTE, buffoonish owners, the awful stadium experience, the ridiculous overhype, the insane punishments, and just a general feeling that the league doesn’t have its act together anymore. Say what you will, but the League ownership’s ability to go along, get along, and make money for all those decades is nothing like what the Joneses and Kroenkes are giving them now.

      Being beloved is a fickle status. The NFL is not a good gameday product, and it is playing worse and worse on TV too. I’d say that is the best reason to hire Kaepernick (a good option for at least half the NFL).

      1. 2015 was definitely the peak year for per-window viewership. 2016 had more windows because of the way the holidays fell.

        The problem with blaming CTE or Kap supporters boycotting or boring games or the Bears being bad is the timing. The decline after Trump hated on Anthem protesters (and the Owners responded by embracing the protests) has been dramatic by any measure; year-to-year, team-to-team or whatever.

        1. I’m not sure what data you’re looking at, but Sept 22nd just happened to be the first week of the season, so I’m not sure how you can pull a trend from that.

          Last year saw significant viewership drops long before the President was saying anything. Last year the conversation was far more focused on technology as a part of a broader trend towards fragmentation of TV audiences, which is less dramatic but makes sense.

          When it comes to in-stadium attendance, there have been a lot of NFL teams that have long had problems getting a lot of fans to the stadium (Washington perhaps being the most notable), but these have been masked by sales to fans of visiting teams. Now that a lot of those popular teams are bad, those tickets aren’t being bought.

          Like a lot of peaks, Peak NFL is partially a function of success–but like baseball figuring out too late that people liked watching football on TV, it may be that the NFL is missing the beat on what

    2. I decided to stop watching Football because of the anthem protests; the media can black it out all they want, but the backlash is real.
      I am 22 and last year I watched every Seahawk game; luckily we didn’t make it all the way, because the NFL forced me to quit watching the only sports team I give a damn about.
      People can believe what they want, but rich and successful athletes are allowed to protest at work about inequal rights while they are making more money then I do in a year in an hour and I feel discrimated against because of it. And when I think about all the men and women who died for this great nation whose memories are forever scorned my blood boils and tears flow.
      I will not endorse anti-american drivel.

      Fuck the NFL; Fuck their athletes; They are all fucking traitors.

  10. I have developed this theory. I think a lot of people use to have the game on, but it was little more than background noise. They watched but were not passionate unless it was their team. It was that way for me. Then the league took away my time (the Rams), and I have not watched a full game since then. For other people, it may have been CTE or the anthem. If you did not care that much in the first place, one little thing puts a bad taste in your mouth and you simply find something else to do. In the age of live-streamed sports, you can watch almost any sport in season at almost any time. I miss watching sometimes, but it was not hard to find other things to do.

    1. Yeah, I think we’re deep into blind-men-and-the-elephant territory with these theories — everyone sees the reasons affecting them and their friends. I may have to see if I can find someone to bring the power of regression analysis to bear.

  11. There are thousands of us in California who stopped watching NFL on TV because of relocation , the pending relocation of the Oakland Raiders and relocation of the San Diego Chargers. We were some of the biggest supporters of the NFL, I would spend $1,200 a year on NFL tickets and gear. But I hate the way the NFL owners do business except for the owner of the Miami Dolphins and the owner of the Green Bay Packers, but the rest of the NFL owners are greedy pigs especially Jerry Jones, Dean Spanos and Mark Davis. I already don’t want to give these owners any of my money. If there’s no more Oakland Raiders there’s no point in watching any NFL ever again. No more support from to billionaire welfare recipients.

    1. Don’t forget Dan Snyder! The Redskins used to have one of the most fanatical fan bases in the NFL. Through a series of moves over the years that epitomize greed and hubris, the team now has to cover seats with tarps. And no, it’s not the name. I’m from DC, and people HATE Snyder and how he has eviscerated a beloved franchise.

  12. Nascar lost viewers when they made cars safer and Incorporated new rules to eliminate the big crash. Same is happening to the NFL.

  13. I was going to post a good point, but obviously I’m late to the party. Though there is a very small sample set and most of the evidence is anecdotal, I have people who have said all of this. CTE, Pace of Play, oversaturization of the market, the cost if a live game where you are robbed for a hot dog and a beer. Safety at the game, the Anthem protests, the list just goes on. But, no hard evidence to support most of it. I’m 56, and my Godson is 28. His people are all into gaming. This is a huge threat to not only the NFL, but of pro sports in general. Younger men seem to be more interested in competitive gaming than sports. I had no idea just how big this is until I spent a week with my Godson and was educated. This may not do damage in my lifetime, but unless young men are attracted to sports, the customer base will age out and your industry is gone. I’ve lived this as a Teamster for what was a top 10 newspaper in the country. Now, the entire industry is a shell of itself and is fundamentally dead, except for the New York Times and the Wall St Journal. What are pro sports doing to attract those badly needed younger fans?

    1. Really good point. Many teams have already invested in esport start ups to hedge against trends.

  14. Neil and everyone else,

    Not to take the easy way out, but I think we have a number of factors playing into this.

    In no particular order:
    -Fed up with whiny athletes, even if that is only the perception
    -Too many ads/stoppages/wacky reviews, etc. i.e. actual hitting is 16 minutes, but game lasts 4 hours, uggghhhh!
    -Bad bottom feeder teams
    -Perceived fixing or rigging for certain outcomes
    -Changing demographic among younger people, who are not as tied to the sport
    -High School and college are more exciting
    -Cost and bother of attending game and buying merch
    -Owners and commish are idiots
    -Over saturation of games and talk shows regarding sport
    -Not as many real fans, too many interested only in a peripheral sense, watch only Super Bowl, got snookered into joining a fantasy league and then didn’t follow through each week or on schedule
    -Other sports more appealing
    -New stadium fatigue, i.e. taxpayers catching onto the scam owners have going to get new stadiums built for them

    I know I have a long list, but the more I read about this dilemma facing the NFL, the more complicated it is then just anthem gate or boring games between loser teams.

    The NFL only has themselves to thank. Overall, everyone involved, but especially at the top, owners and commish have only themselves to thank.

    I think taken as a whole all of these factors are just the realization that as we get older and more aware, we realize that the “magic” or romantic feelings we have about a sport as a child just aren’t there. In other words the fond memories wear off and we outgrow the sport. In some strange way it’s like realizing that there is no Santa Claus or Easter Bunny. However, we might keep those alive for our children or grand kids, but we know the score and how to deal with it. With football and the NFL, especially, we are seeing some changes in viewing and buying.

    Of course, the numbers aren’t all in and the league isn’t ready to file for bankruptcy, but ratings don’t lie and we will really know when season ticket renewals begin after the season ends.

    Stay tuned…

  15. Joe2,

    Agreed about the gaming. I forgot about that. I also read one pundit complain, it might have been Neil, that the NFL is a QB reality show in search of a league. How true. The NFL is all about the QB. While maybe a small factor, still some people may tune out because of it. However, if all these factors make the sport safer and better, i.e. less teams, but better players playing the game, than maybe that isn’t so bad.

    Part of the NFL’s problem is the thought that trees grow to the moon. Unfortunately, pruning needs to take place every now and then. Goodbye’s idea that he can make 25 billion a year and have teams all over the globe is nonsense. The logistics make it a nightmare and there is only so much money to go around.

    I’ve always said, I would prefer a 15-team league, play each team once (one year at home, the next on the road) and the top two play for the Super Bowl. More like how soccer (football for the rest of the world) does it. I know Neil will gently remind that there will still be bad teams. However, not as many and the it would force teams to draft even better, unless they just didn’t care, which no one can really do anything about, except not buy the product and close up the team. I also realize this leaves a big dent/shrinkage in the cash.

    Either way if Goodbye is worried, I am happy.

  16. So, who will be the first NFL team who needs a new stadium built that is in the 50-55,000 range because the old one is too big?

  17. I think for many people whatever reason they say is the reason really is the “straw that broke the camel’s back” for them. When the Rams left St. Louis I tried to become a fan of different teams but none stuck.

    For some, the anthem stuff was their straw (both the protests themselves and hearing people talk about the protests). For me it was Goodell’s contract demands. I don’t know why, but I haven’t watched a game since. I feel like I have a longer weekend now.

    For all of college basketball’s issues at least they can get a game done in two hours.

  18. Just saw Ryan Shazier get stretchered off the field and I’m sick to my stomach. My watching habits have definitely dipped over the last couple of years and for me it’s the guilt associated with serious injuries in ultra hd on my 65 inch tv. His. Legs. Did. Not. Move.

    1. The 2nd half of that Bengals/Steelers game is what hardcore fans want. It’s also what will lead to the death of high school football.

  19. For the Tampa Bay Bucs, looking at paid attendance,actual attendance, and no-shows for the years 2013-2017(in progress), there has been little variability and the 5 year average is 60,192 / 52,683 / 7,509.

    For the in-progress 2017 season, through 5 home games, the slash line reads 60,298 / 52,969 / 7,328 – razor thin close to the 5-year average. And it should be noted that the Bucs have pretty consistently sucked during this 5 year period.

    It would be interesting to see this same analysis for the other 31 NFL teams.

    1. Where are you getting those numbers, Scott? I didn’t even realize any NFL teams released no-show figures.

      1. Media guides. Some teams do in fact publish “distributed” and “actual” attendance figures, e.g. the Dolphins do.

  20. The anthem kneeling is probably the biggest reason that attendance is down.Other reasons could be:
    The games are almost(maybe)scripted.The previous Super Bowl comes to mind.
    The cost of the tickets,parking,concessions has priced the true fan out.
    The owners haven’t panicked yet.This years games the tickets are already sold.The league it appears for the 3rd year in a row has waived the 72 hrs before kickoff sell the game out or it’s blacked out in the home market.
    Technology,Smart phones,gadgets,etc.
    The LA move has not worked out as well as the league thought it would.

  21. Sometimes the obvious theory is right: What goes up, must go down.

    First of all, I’d love for it to be concern about CTE or something like that. However, college football ratings and attendance have held steady. I can almost rationalize guys getting their brains bashed in for millions of dollars per year, but kids who will never earn a dime? As for the quality of play, college football in my view is almost unwatchable. Yet, people are still showing up and tuning in.

    The anthem protests may be having an impact but at the same time the NBA seems to be doing well. The stuff LeBron James or Gregg Popovich have said to offend the segment of the population that might care about this kind of stuff makes the NFL look mild. Then again the NBA has a smaller fan base so they can more easily write certain segments of the population off.

    The reality is the NFL still has attendance most leagues would kill for and their broadcasts are still the highest rated TV programs most weeks. Ticket prices are still through the roof. All the metrics are still high. They just aren’t quite as high as they once were. In the world of finance they might call it a “market correction.” They couldn’t go up forever.

  22. Just me but I kind of lost interest in the NFL some 20 years ago when I began working the midnight shift. Go to sleep at noon, wake up at 700PM. And since I was going to work Sunday nights, leaving the house at 930PM, that meant I could only watch half of the Sunday night game. It wasn’t immediate but nowadays I can only name about three or four players, all QBs. I have no idea who the leading rusher, receiver or linebacker is.

    I think the pace of the game, when I do watch an occasional one now that I am retired, is wrong. Too many whistles, time outs, video reviews. Some 40 years ago when HBO was just starting a sports media writer (Jack Craig in Sporting News) suggested that if HBO had a game without tv timeouts, fans would be pleasantly surprised how quickly played and crisp a game was. But that never happened as HBO has largely stayed out of sports

  23. I stopped watching 49ers games mainly due to working on Sunday’s now.

    The one Sunday I had off they played on Thursday!

    Secondly, I seem to have become more of a Hockey fan than anything else.

  24. Might be late to the party.

    Up here in Canada it really seems there is some softening of the demand in hockey. We are closing in on the quarter century of no Cup winners in this country and I think people are growing tired.

    That said NFL ratings are up here.

    Go figure.

  25. My vote is that pro sports live and die on superstars (players recognized by the casual or non-fan) and NFL has lost (or is losing) the players causal fans recognize. Brady is 40, Aaron Rodgers was hurt for half of the season, etc.
    Colin Kaepernick probably has higher name recognition that 99% of the NFL players.

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