Anti-American Anthem Protests Now Costing Networks, NFL Millions in Lost Ad Revenue

Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid of the San Francisco 49ers kneel in protest during the nati

The growing number of anti-American protests during pro football is now hitting the broadcast networks in the wallet as advertisers demand refunds on their advertising costs because of falling ratings.

The negative effect on the NFL of the anti-American national anthem protests started by San Francisco 49ers second-string quarterback Colin Kaepernick is coming more sharply into focus each week. Firstly, ratings have been tumbling week over week and now another metric to measure the effect has appeared as TV networks have now been forced to begin giving money back to advertisers because not as many people are watching football to be exposed to their TV commercials.

The networks have been providing advertisers with what are termed “make-goods.” These are refunds given to advertisers because the cost of advertising is predicated on the number of viewers a TV commercial will reach during a pro football game. But with ratings falling, often by double digits, advertisers are demanding their “make-goods” because ads are hitting far fewer eyes than they paid for.

Some are already calling these make-goods the “Kaepernick effect” with advertising revenues taking a major hit as fans tune out in droves.

According to Sporting News, TV ads during pro football games can cost between $500,000 and $600,000 per 30-second spot. But advertisers are sold on these exorbitant costs on the assumption that their ads will be included in games reaching far above a 20 Neilsen TV rating.

Unfortunately for advertisers, the networks and the NFL, ratings have tumbled to less than a 15 rating and in the case of the September 26 broadcast of Monday Night Football the game only earned a 5.7 rating. The latter was a 38 percent drop over the same week’s game in 2015.

This means millions of people are no longer being reached by the commercials advertisers are paying up to $600,000 to air.

Meanwhile, a new Rasmussen poll finds that 32 percent of adults surveyed say that they have stopped watching NFL football because of the protests while only a scant 13 percent said they are more likely to tune in because of the anthem protests.

The poll further found that more women than men are tired of the Black Lives Matter-like protests with 29 percent of men saying they are less likely to watch pro football compared to 38 percent of women who intimated that they are uncomfortable with the protests.

There is plenty of blame to go around, it appears. Sports commentator Jason Whitlock, for one, is laying some of the blame on the left-wingers infesting the sports media complex for pushing lefty causes at the expense of sports.

At least one other factor has been affecting viewership on the broadcast networks. Neither Peyton Manning (retired) nor Tom Brady (suspended) played during the league’s first four weeks. The NFL has been increasing its presence online and the number of people watching games over Internet services are having a thus far undetermined affect on TV viewing.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.