Author Topic: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public  (Read 1494 times)

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Offline airboy

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US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« on: September 10, 2020, 09:07:56 PM »
Gallup and other polling organizations do annual "favorability" polls on all sorts of US industries.  Everything from automobile manufacturers to farming to most everything else.

The public's view of sports has massively tanked among the general public.

The complete story and ranking of industries can be found at:
 https://news.gallup.com/poll/319256/farming-rises-sports-tumbles-industry-ratings.aspx

The specific table relating to sports is attached.

Overall, favorability towards the sports industry went from considerable favorability to outright negative in the course of only one year.  This sort of thing seldom happens in these annual polls.  Attitudes towards the sports industry went down for everyone: men, women, whites, minorities, republicans, dems and independents. 

If I was hoping to make money in sports either as a player, coach, owner, or someone who is just getting parking revenues from spaces near a stadium I would be worried.

Everyone can put their own take on why this happened.  That opinions tanked across the board to the point where sports are viewed negatively by Republicans and Independents along with huge deterioration in attitudes towards the industry across the board is just a fact.

Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2020, 06:30:48 PM »
NFL season opener had horrible ratings.  Fans booed the Super Bowl champs.

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2020, 09:10:04 PM »
And it's really hard to boo through a mask.
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Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2020, 07:39:43 PM »
The Western Conference NBA finals would seem from an outsider's perspective to be optimal.  You had LeBron James hoping to get back to the NBA championship game.

Despite that, ratings were 40% lower than the previous year and the lowest they have been in almost a decade.  Political commentary programs (Hannity & Tucker Carlson) both had higher ratings than the Western Conference finals.

There are multiple explanations - among which are the sheer number of sporting events going on right now.  NFL, Stanley Cup, NBA playoffs, College Football, golf and pro soccer.  Still, a 40% tanking is a big beat down.

Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #4 on: October 13, 2020, 11:07:57 AM »
The NBA finals are over.  They pulled off the "bubble" well in terms of keeping the plague away from the players.

Viewership of the finals was the lowest in modern history.  50%+ declines in viewership from last year.  They got LeBron and the Lakers in the finals - which for the NBA is optimal.  The only thing that would have worked better from an audience appeal standpoint would be Lakers-Celtics (or some other team from the East Coast).

Despite Lebron getting his 4th title - the ratings were abysmal.   All sorts of reasons are given for the ratings collapse.  The three favorite theories are:
1] More sports playing at one time than ever before - especially playoffs.
2] The hyper-pollicization of the NBA.
3] Combination of 1&2 plus anything else you want to throw into the pot.

I have no definite opinion since I only watch College sports.

Ratings data can be found at: https://www.outkick.com/nba-finals-ratings-were-officially-the-lowest-in-modern-history/

Offline JasonPratt

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #5 on: October 13, 2020, 12:10:16 PM »
While I don't have concrete stats, I've heard that professional golf now has a substantially larger viewership than NFL games. (Don't know if that's overall, on the average, or comparing some specific events to other events.)
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Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2020, 12:51:37 PM »
While I don't have concrete stats, I've heard that professional golf now has a substantially larger viewership than NFL games. (Don't know if that's overall, on the average, or comparing some specific events to other events.)

I don't think that is true.  However, golf ratings have increased while most other professional sports have gone down.

Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2020, 04:25:56 AM »
Long story with takes from a large number of basketball/sports journalists on the tanking of the NBA ratings.

https://www.outkick.com/the-bubble-burst-whats-next-for-lebron-james-and-the-nba-after-historic-ratings-collapse/

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #8 on: December 14, 2020, 05:10:44 PM »
Without trying to turn this overtly political, my sense is that the BLM movement did a lot to hurt to the popularity of the sport for liberals and conservatives.  Conservatives (disproportionately Republicans and white people) probably didn't approve of how far the coaches, athletes, and owners went to support BLM.  At the same time, Democrats probably didn't think the owners and coaches went far enough.

Most business owners try very hard to keep out of overt politics, for fear of alienating a significant subset of their client base and/or their employee base.  In the current polarized political environment, they had no way of ignoring it.

That is, of course, pure speculation on my part, but I think it's consistent with the changes you see in the data below.  It's by no means the only factor, but I can't think of any other reason for why popularity dropped 46 points with Republicans and only 5 points with Democrats.

Offline jamus34

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #9 on: December 16, 2020, 08:12:25 AM »
I canít speak for basketball as I mostly stopped watching in the mid 90ís but my view there is the game has regressed so far itís barely a team sport anymore. The college game suffers because any quality players are typically one and done.

On the NFL I attribute the loss strictly to the league and the watering down of the sport. I understand and completely agree with player safety having to be taken more seriously but you canít fight simple physics and when a helmet to helmet hit occurs because a player gets spun around or they duck when a defender is trying to tackle low it sucks any joy out of the game. Defense is getting regulated out of the game and I can honestly say this is the least invested Iíve been in the game since I was a little kid.
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Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #10 on: December 16, 2020, 08:37:01 AM »
Without trying to turn this overtly political, my sense is that the BLM movement did a lot to hurt to the popularity of the sport for liberals and conservatives.  Conservatives (disproportionately Republicans and white people) probably didn't approve of how far the coaches, athletes, and owners went to support BLM.  At the same time, Democrats probably didn't think the owners and coaches went far enough.

Most business owners try very hard to keep out of overt politics, for fear of alienating a significant subset of their client base and/or their employee base.  In the current polarized political environment, they had no way of ignoring it.

That is, of course, pure speculation on my part, but I think it's consistent with the changes you see in the data below.  It's by no means the only factor, but I can't think of any other reason for why popularity dropped 46 points with Republicans and only 5 points with Democrats.

Read what I wrote going back to September.  I just posted information with no opinion.  So here are my thoughts.

My wife and I are hard core college sports people.  We spend $5k or more annually on tickets.  We will travel when our teams make the playoffs.  We have been to one BCS championship and 2 Final 4s.  Neither of us watch professional sports so we are out of that loop.

We (and all of our sports buddies) watch sports to be entertained.  It should be a bubble world where sports is the topic of conversation 99% of the time.  Everything else is left at the entry door of sports broadcasts or conversations.  Admittedly, other things can reasonably intervene (weather - when it effects the game; family issues - when they affect the game, military - when it impacts the game).  But other controversies of life should not intrude on the sports bubble.

On/around the playing field - sports should be the topic.  Shouts out to family members or fans are fine.  No politics.

I'm not paying this sort of money and spending this much of my time to be lectured on politics of any sort during "sports time."  You bring up politics - you have lost me.  Do it enough, and you have lost me forever.

Just a guess, but I think that there is a significant proportion of hard core sports people who feel exactly like us.  Abuse our tolerance of other things in the world intruding into our sports bubble - and you will lose a lot of us.  This will hammer your viewership, ticket revenue, and other revenue streams.

We have tickets for two upcoming AU basketball games.  Unfortunately, we can't go to App. State due to conflicts and I'll give away or sell my tickets.  We will be at the Arkansas game on December 30.  This may be the only games we see since when the students get back almost all the tickets will go to them (which we think is a good thing - even though we did pay $3.5k to get our seats).

Offline Sir Slash

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2020, 09:55:00 AM »
I agree. The NFL lost America not when it supported BLM but well before that when Kaepernick refused to stand for the National Anthem of the country who made him rich for being no better than a mediocre quarterback. The other 'Take-a-Knee' activists followed and that's where they began putting politics squarely into the sports arena which, rightly, turns-off most Americans....not just Racist Republicans.  L:-)
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Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2021, 03:27:19 PM »
I appreciated the fact that you only cited data in the original post, and hope I'm not turning it too political.  That's not my intent. 

Yes.  You'd definitely fit into that first category I mentioned:  Conservatives who didn't care for the messaging they had to start listening to when they tuned into sports.

Like you, I'm a HUGE college sports fan with only passing interest in any professional sports (World Cup is the only exception for me).  The rules for victory and defeat are so clear, it's an amazingly simple and cathartic escape into the "bubble world" that you mentioned.  Winning and losing in real life aren't nearly so clear!

I don't think that the BLM messaging made it into sports at the college level simply because a liberal twitterocracy wanted it to.  I think the BLM messaging finally made it into sports because more than half the athletes in all the big-revenue sports are Black and they really care about it. 

That doesn't make them right.  BUT, when more than 50% of your employee base really cares about an issue, you've got to make a choice between pleasing your customers and pleasing your employees.  There's no way to avoid pissing off somebody, so you shoot for an approach that will hopefully do the minimum total amount of damage.

I think we can talk about THAT aspect of what's happened in sports, without even getting into the conversation about whether either side even has a legit beef to bring. 

I do think toxic politics is spreading to more and more of our life in the US.  As the political scientists might say, it's starting to destroy some of the cross-cutting cleavages that hold any healthy democracy together (e.g., Catholics and Protestants both cheered for the same sports teams; Blacks and Whites both fought the Germans and the Japanese in WW II, etc.).

Offline airboy

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #13 on: January 03, 2021, 04:46:55 PM »
I don't think that the BLM messaging made it into sports at the college level simply because a liberal twitterocracy wanted it to.  I think the BLM messaging finally made it into sports because more than half the athletes in all the big-revenue sports are Black and they really care about it. 

That doesn't make them right.  BUT, when more than 50% of your employee base really cares about an issue, you've got to make a choice between pleasing your customers and pleasing your employees.  There's no way to avoid pissing off somebody, so you shoot for an approach that will hopefully do the minimum total amount of damage.

I think we can talk about THAT aspect of what's happened in sports, without even getting into the conversation about whether either side even has a legit beef to bring. 

I agree with this.  However, if enough of the paying customers get irritated then college sports as a whole collapses.  Football and Men's Basketball pays for everything.  If they annoy enough people then more and more college sports teams (and conferences) will fold.

My wife and I don't plan to pay thousands to be preached to by ignorant teenagers.  And lets face it, almost all teenagers are ignorant and lack wisdom.

Offline FarAway Sooner

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Re: US Sports Industry Now Viewed Negatively by General Public
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2021, 01:08:36 PM »
Yeah.  What you say about Div I athletics (and in particular, the exorbitant coaches' salaries and capital budgets for facilities) is totally on target.

Having done NCAA athletics for 3 years at a lower level, there's still plenty of room left for excellence and hard work by players and coaches at a less resourced level.  It's done for love of the game and being a part of a team. 

BUT, the end of college sports as a consumer good would certainly mean the end of athletic scholarships anywhere near the level we've seen in Div I sports.  Interestingly, I live in a sports-happy metro area (7 different locals competed in the Women's World Cup in 1999; 2 played on the US National Team; multiple Gold Medal winners in numerous sports grew up within a few miles of here, etc.).  Here, the overriding goal that hardcore sporting parents talk about in most youth sports today (boy's football, women's gymnastics, AAU basketball, soccer, etc.) is "The Division I scholarship". 

If you removed that sacred totem from the architecture of for-profit youth sports in America today, I wonder what would happen there?

Ah well, college football and basketball haven't been amateur sports for A LONG TIME now.