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Thursday, January 04, 2018

The costs of convergence

The end of season statistics are in for the NFL. Average viewership per game.

2015: 17.9 million
2016: 16.5 million
2017: 14.9 million

That is a 16.8% viewership decline in two years.

The NFL appears well on the way to follow the course set by Marvel and NASCAR, which amounts to about a 50 percent decline in ten years. Given that there are 256 games in a season, that loss of three million viewers per game represents 768 million lost game-viewings.

Convergence is costly.

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65 Comments:

Blogger BassmanCO January 04, 2018 4:07 PM  

Yeah, and after all the convergence in other sports, I won't be going back to the NFL, unless President Trump comes out and encourages Americans to support it (and I think it more likely Scalzi would man up and lift more than his daughter than this happening).

Anonymous Chippewa January 04, 2018 4:10 PM  

Let pro sports die. It's a cancer, all of it.

Blogger Giraffe January 04, 2018 4:12 PM  

A hypothesis came to me the other day about why it's been so cold lately. See the Vikings are actually favored in the NFC. Hell is slowly cooling, because it's going to freeze over, because the Vikings are going to win the Superbowl this year.

Blogger LonestarWhacko January 04, 2018 4:13 PM  

This thing will be dead and buried in under two years, imo. "Preference Cascade" and all that. Black Fatigue Syndrome. Frankly, it's galling to hear complaints from ingrates. The NFL has run off its customers. Simple as that. Costs of convergence.....

Anonymous Anonymous January 04, 2018 4:13 PM  

"Professional sport" is an oxymoron. Think it through.

Anonymous Looking Glass January 04, 2018 4:18 PM  

The Last Jedi is about ~$220 million behind The Force Awakens in domestic box office at the same time. It'll likely end up around $300 million behind by the end, and a far larger amount in the Foreign box office.

All around, convergence costs large % drops year over year, until it eventually destroys the host. Most parasites would be insulted by how badly Convergence treats its hosts.

Blogger Timmy3 January 04, 2018 4:20 PM  

How much money will the highest grossing sport make? NFL economics is all about momentum.

Blogger James Dixon January 04, 2018 4:24 PM  

> That is a 16.8% viewership decline in two years.

And advertisers notice drops like that. It's going to get even more interesting when the demographics of the viewers is broken down. How much you want to bet the lost viewers are disproportionately those the big advertisers want to reach.

Blogger justaguy January 04, 2018 4:26 PM  

But But Trump!!!

Anonymous AzDesertRat January 04, 2018 4:28 PM  

I think momentum will carry it further along than 2 years. At the beginning of the season there were guys I work with who were up in arms over the protests, swearing off the NFL forever, taking down their flags and putting away their jersey's... and by last week they were back to talking football throughout the week (although at a much reduced rate than a regular year)
With the exception of 1 Millennial the rest of them are all Boomers. So, figure the NFL will probably get at least another 10 years or so out of the Boomer demographic.

Blogger Jimmy Glover January 04, 2018 4:31 PM  

Roger Goodels father was a senator who marched with the anti-war left and lost his seat because of it. Roger is a true believer, and thinks losing his job doing whatever he thinks is right is honorable. He will not bow to any pressure, especially now he has bank.

And given his mishandling of most every issue in his tenure, there is nothing more dangerous than a true believer with no fear of being sacked. The owners just signed on for their own demise. If Jerry Jones couldn't stop him, no one can.

Blogger Azimus January 04, 2018 4:32 PM  

SJW's think that if they infest enough platforms that the political right will just shrug its shoulders and say "Well if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!" But that simply won't happen. The equal and opposite reaction is not to give up, but to build alternatives - like Infogalactic, etc. Morality is not an app or a website or a church or a video game - it is the soul of a man, and it doesn't simply call good evil and evil good because there are no convenient venues to do so...

Blogger James Dixon January 04, 2018 4:33 PM  

> If Jerry Jones couldn't stop him, no one can.

Trump will be out of office in either three or seven years, just in time to start up a new league. Want to make any bets on who the first person to sign on will be?

Blogger Longtime Lurker January 04, 2018 4:35 PM  

The NFL is now the Roger Goodell Social Justice Shit Show.

Good job, Roger.

Blogger Phelps January 04, 2018 4:41 PM  

FWIW, I looked at the numbers back to 2000. There was a huge uptick in 2009, which we were just coming down from in 2016. However, by 2017, we've now dipped down to numbers below those in 2000.

So the NFL was already in a correction, and THEN convergence hit them like a bus, and wiped out 20 years of gains, rather than returning to the trend.

Anonymous Steve Canyon January 04, 2018 4:45 PM  

This might have been rationalized during the economic downturn of the Obama administration. Now that the economy is showing some indications of resurgence, it's a lot harder to blame it on a tough economy.

They'll still double down, and attempt to replace lower-upper and upper middle class whites with lower income minorities. If it takes 3 of those to equate to the purchasing power of one of the whites, the numbers aren't going to support that strategy. They simply aren't going to be able to replace them fast enough to stop the bleeding even under the NFL's most optimistic (and completely flawed) projections.

Anonymous DACA DON January 04, 2018 4:45 PM  

James Dixon wrote:Trump will be out of office in either three

yo james

i've thought about starting my own NBA
..."No Blacks Allowed"...
i think it would get an audience and some traction ya?

#makesportswatchableagain?

Blogger Michael Thompson January 04, 2018 4:51 PM  

I doubt that you can simply blame convergence for this.

Among other things, the quality of the product has seriously diminished in recent years due to the constant shifting of the goalposts toward a more offensive, arena-esque type game. That has been exacerbated by the dominance of the Brady/Manning/Steelers trio over the last 20 years in the AFC. Manning's gone now, of course, and with him gone, it became very apparent almost immediately that the conference is basically now nothing more than a 2 team conference. And it has been this way for so long that even the diehard NFL fans are becoming bored with it. People dig the familiar, but it's a fine line between the familiar and the monotonous. The AFC slipped into monotony a long time ago. Then after those things, you get to all the politicizing of the sport, which really isn't what people want to tune in to watch.

Anonymous Pitcrew January 04, 2018 4:52 PM  

Convergence is cancer, but lets not kid ourselves. This is OUR culture and it hurts to see it poisoned and then rot. It pisses me off so much to know that my children aren't going to have anywhere near the experience I did growing up. And even my experience was tainted by PC garbage. Whatever though, the sooner converged organizations die the sooner good ones can take their place and make us great again.

Anonymous Ages January 04, 2018 4:54 PM  

OT: Thoughts on reports of Trump giving away DACA for basically nothing? (Also, reminder that keeping DACA in any form will be worse than Reagan's failure.)

Anonymous a deplorable rubberducky January 04, 2018 4:55 PM  

We used to watch the Superbowl together with our church. It was a little tradition and an excuse to get together as families. The Wardrobe Malfunction fixed that. Man was that awkward.

We used to watch the Cowboys and Lions games together as a family for Thanksgiving. The kneelers fixed that.

All three of the high schools nearest me are now only 30% native born American. Do you want your son to play on the varsity football team? Move over here. They'll take anybody. We used to have a Friday Night Lights sort of culture around here and it was a big deal and highly competitive to be on those teams. But they imported the Turd World and fixed that, too.

Blogger Rough Carrigan January 04, 2018 4:58 PM  

In another 5 years, research might prove that any significant time playing professional football entails an unacceptable risk of CTE brain injury. Even if the sport goes on, being told that you're not just maybe but absolutely, positively being entertained by people ruining their health will also detract from viewership.

Anonymous WinstonWebb January 04, 2018 4:59 PM  

Convergence, CTE, and making almost every type of hard hit illegal.

You pick the order.

Blogger Rough Carrigan January 04, 2018 5:02 PM  

#19. The rule changes over the last 20 years to increase scoring only made a top quarterback more of a priority for having a winning team. You used to be able to have a so-so quarterback and a top running game and be nearly as well off. Not any more. That formula doesn't work when defenders can't breathe on wide receivers but can assault running backs. The problem is that the NFL is no better at developing top quarterbacks now than it was 30 or 40 years ago.

Anonymous Looking Glass January 04, 2018 5:05 PM  

@19 Michael Thompson

It's the choices that allowed the Convergence to happen that are the core issue, but the Convergence is death spiral event. The NFL has been making bad choices for a rather long time. Goddell provides great cover to the owners, but that doesn't mean they haven't been run in a horribly tone-deaf manner with a Media Strategy that's only slightly above Mafia approaches.

Because of all of that, the NYC-based league office kept being slowly converged until the point that the office seems to be practically a local that ex-Obama officials left for jobs. Then you have the stadium "issues" (read that as "threats"), on top of the CTE/concussion issues.

But the real problem is that the NFL became a Net Value business. Everything is about jacking up the selling prices of the teams. Once that has happened in every league, the league product takes a rapid drop. NBA has sort of avoided some of that issue because of a talent & strategy boom, but all of the leagues suffer from it. The "core business" changed and the attention to the proper details went away.

Anonymous ben January 04, 2018 5:11 PM  

I lost interest in the NFL when they came out as anti-gun anti-2nd amendment. I was a huge fan back in the Montana 49ers era, but i haven't watched a game in years.

Anonymous patrick kelly January 04, 2018 5:17 PM  

"OT: Thoughts on reports of Trump giving away DACA for basically nothing? (Also, reminder that keeping DACA in any form will be worse than Reagan's failure.)"

I think I like whiskey.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan January 04, 2018 5:21 PM  

Demographics, black fatigue and sky high prices dedicated to fixing high prices are the killers.

Anonymous WaterBoy January 04, 2018 5:28 PM  

Michael Thompson @19: "I doubt that you can simply blame convergence for this."

You can't...as TV viewership is down across the board, not just NFL games. The fact that the NFL still has 37 of the top 50 rated programs in 2017 shows its continuing popularity relative to other televised entertainment.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan January 04, 2018 6:01 PM  

Given that idiot Goodell's inclinations the NFL should aim for appealing to the Soybois.

So what month and color do they get?

PS. Does that badass Scalzi watch football?

Blogger haus frau January 04, 2018 6:15 PM  

"that loss of three million viewers per game represents 768 million lost game-viewings."

Yeah but think of all the virtue they signaled....thats like 768 million virtue signal units.

Anonymous map January 04, 2018 6:25 PM  

This is where you make your error.

The NFL represents a live set of eyeballs. The premiums that advertisers pay for sports slots is because of the live audience. Other tv entertainment is sitting on DVR’s or streamed and the advertising there is heavily discounted.

A 16% drop in live viewings is massive.

Blogger Were-Puppy January 04, 2018 6:27 PM  

@13 James Dixon
Trump will be out of office in either three or seven years, just in time to start up a new league. Want to make any bets on who the first person to sign on will be?
---

HE HATE ME ?

Blogger Mr.MantraMan January 04, 2018 6:32 PM  

And to think of all those luxury car commercials consisting of white princess / sensitive man of color and great job missed by the former tube zombies, the horror.

Blogger Were-Puppy January 04, 2018 6:33 PM  

Now if only all those who have stopped watching NFL will realize they don't need cable any more and cut it, we might get a nice side effect going.

Anonymous Retrophoebia January 04, 2018 6:41 PM  

And it’s accelerating:

2015-2016: -7.8%
2016-2017: -9.7%

Blogger LP9 January 04, 2018 7:05 PM  

ESPN is painful to watch and endure their staff is problematic, dysfunctional spouting null-nonsense like the POTUS is a white supremacist, at our 3 gyms where I teach at stopped it, now its a music channel, the NFL which I adore, dad and I love it but not for the last few years, if not longer, we noted the lies, spin, the farce of SJW running the place into the ground NFL/ ESPN -

So I remain in the house and in kitchen void of moron talking points from the NFLESPAN, the great news there is Americans will turns away from the NFL, espn or truly the locally national media of liars and spinners.

Blogger LP9 January 04, 2018 7:07 PM  

34 Happy new year dear puppy, yes cable tv locally and nationally tv is being cut; a waste of money

Blogger exfarmkid January 04, 2018 7:17 PM  

3. Giraffe "A hypothesis came to me the other day about why it's been so cold lately. See the Vikings are actually favored in the NFC. Hell is slowly cooling, because it's going to freeze over, because the Vikings are going to win the Superbowl this year."

You may beat your head on the floor until forgiven.....

Blogger Gordon Scott January 04, 2018 7:55 PM  

@James Dixon: "And advertisers notice drops like that."

yes, they do. They notice the very next day, and their advertising agency calls the network and asks for a refund. Ad time is priced on expected viewership. If the number of viewers misses the target, the network has to refund some of the money.

Anonymous Whitey Whiteman III January 04, 2018 8:17 PM  

Apologies if it has been mentioned in previous days, but Vince McMahon is supposedly doing a MAGA Football League...

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/12/30/leahy-maga-football-league-coming-to-a-stadium-near-you/


Blogger cmbaileytstc January 04, 2018 8:26 PM  

Depends. Whites have more money, but Blacks are more likely to throw away what they can get. Some business models depend on this fact.
“How much you want to bet the lost viewers are disproportionately those the big advertisers want to reach.”

Anonymous Mr. Rational January 04, 2018 8:27 PM  

LP9 wrote:ESPN is painful to watch and endure their staff is problematic, dysfunctional spouting null-nonsense like the POTUS is a white supremacist
I was out last night and asked for the TV to be turned from the diversity announcer on ESPN to news.  The bartender told me that people were getting into fights over the news (this where the median customer age is probably over 65 most nights!).  Given that the retirees from elsewhere probably lean strongly left while the locals probably lean strongly right, this shouldn't surprise me... but it did.

We'll see if they entertain my request to put it on Cartoon Network.

Blogger tublecane January 04, 2018 8:33 PM  

@4-I thought we call it Negro Fatigue. I don't have the chronic version. My fatigue is on the wane right now, because they cause much less mischief during the cold months. And I try to stay away from advertising, and as such am not bombarded with fantasies about happy middle-class black professionals enjoying the holidays.

Blogger tublecane January 04, 2018 8:41 PM  

@18-How many superbowls did the NFC win in a row before the Elway Broncos finally broke the streak? Like 14? It got to the point where everyone called the NFC championship game the "real superbowl."

That didn't hurt the NFL's ratings. I hardly think the AFC being dominated by a few teams for a while is to blame.

Blogger Erika Juhasz Nagy January 04, 2018 8:42 PM  

OT: Thoughts on reports of Trump giving away DACA for basically nothing?

So when he announced this legislation must include border wall, end of visa lottery and no chain migration, that is nothing?? Interesting math you use.

Blogger Akulkis January 04, 2018 8:45 PM  

The destruction of both the NFL and the NBA each occurred when the respective leagues made zone defense illegal.

Ever since that time, statistics comparing players from, say, the 1970's with players from No Zone Defence years is a crock. And then both leagues continue to screw it up more and more each year by adding more and more rules that handcuff the defense.

About the only offense-aiding rule change I've ever seen that's been beneficial, has been removing the prohibition against the Two-Line Pass. And yes, this screws up the stats, too (for both goalies and skaters) -- but it eliminated the fact that far too many NHL games were 1-0, 1-1, or even 0-0 affairs at the end of regulation time (and in the days before Sudden Death Overtime, 0-0 was a valid score for the record books, because the NHL counts 0 points for a loss, 1 point for a tie, and 2 points for a win. When overtime was finally added, in the event of overtime, the losing team still gets 1 point (for having secured a tie in regulation time).

I'm still not totally at ease with Designated Hitter rule in American League baseball. It screws up pitchers' stats, and removed problems for each manager which make the game more interesting. And I'm in an American League city.

Blogger tublecane January 04, 2018 8:46 PM  

@41-"Some business models depend on this fact"

Malt liquor companies, sneaker companies, clothing stores, convenience marts, bars/strip clubs, crack dealers, etc.

Anonymous ben January 04, 2018 8:55 PM  

I agree, ghetto culture in sports is a significant turnoff.

Anonymous Ages January 04, 2018 9:10 PM  

So when he announced this legislation must include border wall, end of visa lottery and no chain migration, that is nothing?? Interesting math you use.

If Trump keeps DACA, even in exchange for everything else you listed, it will be a disaster, period. There is no good way to spin keeping these illegals in the country.

Why build a wall when we just legalize the ones who are already here?

"but muh kids!!!!!"

If a guy robs a bank, his kids don't get to keep the money. Ever. Even if they need it to live.

Blogger Lazarus January 04, 2018 9:34 PM  

Lightly attended stadium games = negative argument for government funding of stadiums because of benefits to local business..

Anonymous Brick Hardslab January 04, 2018 9:45 PM  

Doesn't espn get guaranteed revenue through cable?

Blogger Lazarus January 04, 2018 10:12 PM  

Doesn't espn get guaranteed revenue through cable?

At some point, contracts run out and have to be re-set.

Anonymous Wooly January 04, 2018 11:18 PM  

How much money would Vox's SJW-proofing consultancy have saved the NFL in the last year?

How much money could Vox have made by doing so?

Crap, look at the haul the Antivirus program companies make.

This would be Malwarebytes on a human level.

Anonymous Jack Amok January 04, 2018 11:46 PM  

Doesn't espn get guaranteed revenue through cable?

No, they get revenue per subscriber. They have a lot of deals where they (and their revenue) are a part of the basic package and you can't get cable without getting ESPN, but the provider still only pays them based on the number of subscribers.

They've been averaging 10k cancelled subscriptions per day since 2011, and it's been accelerating lately.

So no, their revenue is not guaranteed.

What is guaranteed is their costs. They have guaranteed payments to various leagues regardless of what audience size the games generate. ESPN is on the hook for billions even if nobody watches or pays.

Anonymous Anonymous January 05, 2018 12:04 AM  

Viewership is down because of racism. Obviously.

Anonymous The Original Arrogant Steelers Fan January 05, 2018 4:13 AM  

The NFL will hold out as long as the government de facto bailouts hold out. We know know the pentagon's been shoveling them billions just for the silly Tribute to the Troops stuff.

At this point I think the real question is will the NFL recover like baseball and basketball have recovered? I would say no because unlike other sports, lower tier and lower caliber players cannot be substituted with the entertainment value maintained. I mean how long is it before we see punter Shareek Abdul Lazeez kicking punts the wrong way in the NFL? Will American fans continue to watch that? They aren't watching now?

Anonymous Ryan G January 05, 2018 4:36 AM  

I think the reason is that even normies are starting to clue into how onerous this SJW crap is.

I was at a bar not too long ago, surrounded by normal, everyday people. This place is a sports bar, so ESPN was playing on every TV. Anyway, I distinctly recall hearing people saying things like "What is this shit?", "Who fucking cares?", "Get back to the game already!" made by different people around the room.

When I saw the owner/bartender roll his eyes at some SJW article being played, I remarked, "I thought ESPN was supposed to be all about sports." to which he replied, "You'd think so, wouldn't you? I wish there was a channel I could buy that didn't have all this other crap on it."

Anonymous NFL Fanboi January 05, 2018 7:52 AM  

Convergence? No.

One must take into account how NFL fans are watching their games.
Tons of streaming on their mobile devices and laptops NOT taken into account.

As far as NFL decline, these are the factors:

Lawsuits over brain injuries and lack of NFL protocols to properly diagnose concussions.

Audience response to player politicizing.

Injuries to stars and key players.

Blogger Michael Thompson January 05, 2018 8:31 AM  

44: "That didn't hurt the NFL's ratings. I hardly think the AFC being dominated by a few teams for a while is to blame."

I think my larger point was that there isn't just one thing to blame for this, but that it's the culmination of a lot of different factors, of which the stagnation of the AFC is just one.

Bear in mind, however, that during the NFC's run of dominance, 6 different teams won a Super Bowl. One of those teams won it multiple times with 3 different quarterbacks and another with 2 different quarterbacks. Outside of the Super Bowl, though it is forgotten, the 49ers regularly faced a challenge from the Rams in their own division, while the NFC East constantly churned.

In other words, there was no stultifying certitude at the beginning of the season that either Tom Brady's, Peyton Manning's, or Ben Roethlisberger's team was predestined to make it to the Super Bowl and likely win. Since 2002, basically the time it takes for an entire generation of people to grow up, there have only been 2 seasons when one of those guys has not been the quarterback of the AFC representative in the Super Bowl. That is monotony.

That's what I meant between the difference between familiarity versus monotony.

Blogger James Dixon January 05, 2018 9:26 AM  

> ...shows its continuing popularity relative to other televised entertainment.

I'm sure that getting half a dozen of the last dozen viewers will be a great comfort to them.

> Tons of streaming on their mobile devices and laptops NOT taken into account.

Do you really think the league doesn't measure those? Do you really think they wouldn't have been touting those figures to sky if they made any difference?

Blogger VD January 05, 2018 11:00 AM  

Convergence? No.

Denial hasn't worked for NASCAR or Marvel. It won't work for the NFL either.

Blogger Tatooine Sharpshooters' Club January 05, 2018 4:19 PM  

Tons of streaming on their mobile devices and laptops NOT taken into account.

Do you really think the league doesn't measure those? Do you really think they wouldn't have been touting those figures to sky if they made any difference?


Your streaming habits can be, and are, more precisely tracked than your TV viewing. If the numbers were truly that awesome, then most assuredly they would be being shoved right in our faces.

Besides, how many people actually stream an entire game (with ads)? I'm guessing it's a lot more score check-ins and highlights for streamers, and that doesn't get advertisers wallets all that loose.

Anonymous NFL Fanboi January 06, 2018 1:35 PM  

"Denial hasn't worked for NASCAR or Marvel. It won't work for the NFL either."

Viewers are continuing to abandon their cable packages, or refusing to sign up in the first place. And as more and more games become available, watching any single one loses importance. Games will continue to shift from network television to cable to internet streaming services, which are available to a smaller customer base.

In Summer 2017, a J.D. Power survey of sports fans reported that 26 percent of fans who said they watched fewer NFL games did so because of protests during the national anthem, according to an ESPN report. But only 12 percent of sports fans said they watched fewer N.F.L. games — meaning only 3 percent of respondents over all said they watched fewer games because of protests — and 27 percent of fans surveyed said they actually watched more games than they had the previous year.

The good news for the NFL is that given the right matchup, viewers continue to watch the NFL in big numbers.

"Your streaming habits can be, and are, more precisely tracked than your TV viewing."

Actually, streaming habits are just starting to be calculated.

https://www.engadget.com/2017/10/18/nielsen-netflix-hulu-amazon-prime-ratings

Blogger Francis W. Porretto January 09, 2018 7:02 AM  

What I find most striking about the NFL thing is that in hiring black players, franchise owners paid attention to exactly one consideration: athletic ability. They never imagined that there might be associated costs, other than salary. Now that one such cost has reared its head, will the owners reassess their "labor policy?" If not, what would it take to get them to reconsider their one-factor-only hiring procedure?

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