Crashing NFL Advertising Revenue Takes Bite Out of Fox Sports with Budget Cuts

AP Richard Drew
AP Photo/Richard Drew

Budget cuts are looming for Fox Sports as a result of the millions in lost advertising revenue for the NFL over the last two seasons, a report says.

Fox Sports’ Los Angeles staffers are dreading the upcoming layoffs and budget cuts due to disappointing NFL advertising revenue so far this season, according to Sporting News.

One cutback may affect FS1 stars Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe, as well. With NBC having won the upcoming Super Bowl, it is being reported that Fox won’t send its top name staffers to broadcast from Minnesota for Super Bowl 52. Fox will keep its broadcasters and crew home and save the cash it would have spent by sending its top stars to Minneapolis.

This is a departure from the previous Super Bowl when the whole Undisputed TV team was sent to cover Super Bowl 51. Fox Sports also sent several teams from its other programs to NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas.

But with ad revenue continuing to fall due to fan disinterest, and mounting boycotts, Fox Sports will be slashing its spending targets.

As Sporting News reported:

“Through Week 13, the ‘NFL on Fox’s’ average TV audience fell 12 percent to 17.4 million viewers from the same period in 2016. The TV audience for the network’s ‘America’s Game of the Week’ between the Saints and Panthers on Dec. 3 plummeted 20 percent to 20.2 million viewers. To illustrate the strength of NFL programming, however, the telecast still ranked as the most-watched program of the week on TV, according to the network.”

“The NFL has lost roughly 1 in 5 viewers since 2015, according to Nielsen,” Sporting News added.

Another thing that hurt Fox Sports’ bottom line is the elimination of Team U.S.A. in the FIFA World Cup. Fox spent tall cash to get the broadcast rights for the World Cup, but the U.S. team was skunked early in the playoffs meaning that America will not be represented in soccer’s biggest tournament.

Fox Sports is hardly alone in feeling the NL pinch. ESPN just laid off another 150 employees only months after firing 100 early in 2016. That brings the number of employees fired since 2015 to over 550.

ESPN employees are not the only ones at the cable sports network feeling a loss this year. The latest statistics reported found that ESPN had lost 480,000 more subscribers in October alone.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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