When football players politicize the National Football League by using it as a platform for leftist agendas, it offends most conservative fans. Such behavior has grave financial consequences. Many large corporate sponsors that spent $5.25 million in 2019 for a thirty-second ad will not be advertising during Super Bowl 2021.
Since 1920, Americans have enjoyed Sunday night football as non-political entertainment. In January 1967, fans were delighted by what was called the Super Bowl, a playoff between the National Football League (NFL) and the American Football League (AFL).
The Super Bowl attracted a massive audience. Naturally, corporate America competed to advertise during this climax of the season. However, many companies went beyond selling tasty soda and snacks. Liberal ideas from the Culture War soon found their way into advertisements.
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The cultural divide that is tearing America apart has already entered football and turned the gridiron into a “social justice” battlefield.
Football fans were irreparably disillusioned when forced to watch the now-unemployable quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, take a knee in protest to “racial injustice.” NFL president Roger Goodell failed to nip the protest in the bud. Now, this political act has ballooned into a full-blown “social justice” drama as every team has caved in to the pressure to prove it is more woke than the next.
Most fans only wanted to watch football. However, the NFL and major corporate advertisers alienated fans by doubling down and featuring politicized ads and halftime shows; consequences be damned.
Thus, while players took a knee, hid in locker rooms during the National Anthem, sponsors and the NFL promoted Black Lives Matter, homosexuality, the #MeToo movement and transgenderism during halftime shows and on player’s helmets. This woke mentality impacted the ticket sales that pay NFL salaries and dampened a substantial viewership that attracts advertising.
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Now, corporate sponsors are reeling from the backlash. Advertising for the 2021 event is suffering.
Large corporations that have placed ads for ten or even twenty years are pulling out of the game. Watching on the sidelines this year are Ford Motor Company, Coca-Cola, Olay, Hyundai, Little Caesars, and Avocados From Mexico. The climate they help create has proven too toxic.
The sponsors say risk mitigation is the most common reason for staying away. The nation is so polarized that there is very little middle ground. They jeopardize offending people on all sides with their proposed ads. Thus, boardrooms nationwide are opting out of the most viewed sports event in America.
These same companies show no remorse for past promotions that help provoke the present polarized situation. However, the number of offended fans seems to have reached a tipping point. Many corporate members feel it is time to get out.
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Many companies are still willing to buy ad time from the NFL. These include Anheuser-Busch, M&M’s, Mountain Dew, Pringles, and Toyota. However, this sponsorship comes at a great price to the networks and NFL.
The asking price for one of the 91 Super Bowl ads is now $5.5 million. This is down from $5.8 million per ad in 2020. The discount of $300,000 per ad will result in a loss of $27.3 million for 2021, even if every spot is filled.
Viewership of the Super Bowl has also steadily dropped since 2015, as fans are not thrilled with the hijacking of their sport. All these problems indicate that the NFL is now paying the price for providing a platform for leftist causes. It should have stuck to just plain football.
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