NFL Anthem Protests Have Strong Implications

By Gregory Youssef,
Sports Business Writer

In August, instead of standing as is standard protocol, Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the playing of the U.S. national anthem before games due to his issues with police brutality and the way that people of color are treated in this country. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick stated when asked for a motive. Word began to spread of his protest, and soon enough almost every player in the NFL was kneeling to make their voices heard.

These protests began to divide the country into those that supported the demonstrations and those that did not. In September, President Donald Trump released a statement declaring that he believes that the players protesting should be made to stand for the national anthem and that NFL team owners should fire players that are found kneeling for the anthem.

President Trump’s statement caused the divide to grow, with anti-Trump NFL players protesting to greater degrees. However, Trump’s statement may have an effect on many companies affiliated with the organization. Despite the release of the President’s stance on the issue, the NFL continued to allow its players to kneel during the anthem, declaring that it was the players’ constitutional right to do so.

In response, many Trump supporters and other NFL viewers that did not agree with the demonstrations decided that they would no longer support the organization, refusing to view NFL games, buy NFL products, or do business with companies sponsoring and associated with the NFL.

Whether you have a stance on the social issue, this is how the boycott is affecting the NFL and those companies associated with it:

The steadily-declining number of viewers of NFL games is set to take its toll on Twenty-first Century Fox. Credit Suisse projects that the boycott is significant enough to have a negative effect on both the price target and earnings per share forecasts for the network in Q1, with the former being reduced from $37 to $35. An analyst for Credit Suisse writes that, “NFL ratings [are] weak so far.

This was negatively impacted during the first 2 weeks by hurricane disruption, but is disappointing given the soft comps – if ratings do not improve materially, we see a potential headwind to domestic advertising revenues in Q2/Q3 ‘18.” From this assessment, shareholders of anything domestic advertising-related companies are advised to stay vigilant and to be prepared to see a potential drop in price.

In addition, companies such as Buffalo Wild Wings are projected to feel the effects of the declining ratings. Less people wanting to watch NFL games has led to less patronage to sports bars, with less and less flocking crowds coming to such places to watch their favorite teams battle it out, instead staying home. 2015’s 1 fewer game in the week in the third quarter alone caused nearly a 1 percentage point drop. By looking at the impact made from the 2015 event, one should be prepared to see a drop in their stock soon, as well as chains such as Papa John’s and Applebee’s.

The NFL protests, support them or not, will have an effect on your life. Be prepared to sell stock in the above companies and others affiliated with the NFL before the prices drop due to lower patronage.


A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, October 24th print edition.

Contact Greg at


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