NFL Sales Slumping Following Controversy

NFL ticket sales are slumping this weekend as controversy over football players kneeling during the national anthem continues, according to two of the country’s largest ticket marketplaces.

Sales at TicketCity have plunged by 31 percent, reports CBS News, while TickPick noted sales are down 17.9 percent from last week, even though they’d risen slightly this month by the smallest margin noted since 2015.

The sales are for tickets being sold in the secondary market instead of through NFL teams themselves, but still show that teams were facing pressure over their anthem protests and a feud sparked by President Donald Trump’s complaints about players who refuse to stand while the anthem is being played.

TV ratings are also down by 11 percent so far this season, notes CBS, and fans want a boycott of the NFL’s corporate partners.

TickPick co-CEO Brett Goldberg told CBS that people are saying that they don’t want politics involved in their football, which they consider their form of entertainment.

According to a CBS News poll, Americans are not happy about Trump commenting on the voting issue, but they also don’t agree with the protests.

TicketCity Vice President of Sales Mike Guiffre said ticket sales have also been hurt for other reasons, including game performance and bad marketing.

“They have not effectively branded, priced, marketed or sold tickets in a modern enough fashion and have counted on season ticket sales and corporate seats for far too long,” he said in an email. “It drove the fans away slowly.”

Ticketmaster would not release sales information without the NFL’s permission. Meanwhile, StubHub is offering a 10 percent discount on NFL, NBA and NHL tickets.

Trump spurred the anthem battle by commenting, during a campaign rally in Alabama earlier this month, that he would fire a “son of a b—-” for kneeling during the anthem, making an apparent reference to former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the sidelines protests.

He also rescinded an invitation for Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry to visit the White House with his championship team, after the NBA standout said he was uneasy about making the trip. The team later all said it would not attend.

Since then, several NFL owners have stood in solidarity with their teams to lock arms in solidarity with their players against Trump.

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