Sell!: JP Morgan Chase Lowers Outlook for CBS After Widespread NFL Anthem Protests

The NFL’s protests against the national anthem are causing fans to reassess their interests in football, but the protests also seem to be causing investors to reconsider their investments in the league as well.

JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s Shawn Quigg is now encouraging investors to stay away from investing in CBS stock ahead of the NFL’s Week 4 broadcasts, according to Bloomberg.

“The bank recommends buying an option that gives you the right to sell the shares at $57.50 on the likelihood that the stock will fall below that price after the company discloses ratings for the games. CBS closed at $58 on Tuesday,” Bloomberg noted.

The analyst also cited jersey sales, saying that if the NFL is going to take a hit, jersey sales may be a leading indicator.

“NFL-related revenue is not trivial to CBS, and any decline in NFL viewership related to the National Anthem debate may negatively affect future results,” he said Wednesday. “We view this weekend’s viewership results as a cleaner proxy in determining whether the Anthem debate may be a larger issue for the NFL, and CBS, or not.”

Quigg also pointed to the soaring sales of Pittsburgh Steelers player Alejandro Villanueva — who became an instant favorite for being the only player to stand for the anthem.

“If one uses player jersey sales as a proxy, fans appear to favor an on-field standing presence during the Anthem,” he said.

According to Bloomberg, NFL ad revenue makes up 10 percent of CBS’s total revenue, Quigg noted, meaning that any hit CBS takes could be consequential.

Quigg warned that another week of bad ratings could “mobilize investors to take the potential impact more seriously.”

The warning may be timely for investors as ratings for the NFL have been steadily falling at least since the 2016 season. Week 2 ratings were some of the worst in decades and that was before the mass protests hit the league last weekend. Additionally, Sunday Night Football was hit with an eight percent drop in viewership for Week 3.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.


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