Network and business executives were left wringing their hands this week, with new revenue data showing league sponsors and advertisers took a major hit following the NFL’s disastrous 2017 season and less-than-stellar playoff series.
According to official figures published by the Standard Media Index and the Wall Street Journal, in-game advertising revenue dropped a stunning 1.2% to $2.42 billion throughout the NFL’s 2017 season; providing further evidence that lower viewership is beginning to translate to advertising losses.
The data includes total revenue across the league’s television partnerships, including NBC, CBS, Fox, and ESPN.
“For the first time since we have been tracking the market we saw a slight drop of in-game dollars,” said SMI Chief Executive James Fennessy.
The figures are a stunning turnaround from the 2015 season, which saw ad revenue increase by nearly 10%.
NFL officials and team owners are struggling to regain fans after months of player protests during the performance of the national anthem. The ensuing controversy has cost the league upwards of $500 million in lost revenue as angry viewers change the channel.