The moment we have all been waiting for since Colin Kaepernick took a knee for the National Anthem at an NFL preseason game may well have arrived. People at the New American did some digging and found the provision in the advertising contracts that determines how the National Football League must compensate sponsors if the ratings suffer for any reason:
The ad rates for a 30-second televised commercial during a game cost from $500,000 to $600,000 for prime-time games. However, if ratings are not up to a certain level, the ad contracts stipulate that the networks must essentially give free commercial time to make up for that decline. This in turn will rile the TV networks that broadcast the games (CBS, FOX, NBC, and ESPN), and may even lead to a renegotiation of the contracts — thereby bringing in less revenue for the owners to use to pay their players.
One player, Brandon Marshall of the Denver Broncos, has already seen the results of sitting out the National Anthem. Two of his sponsors DROPPED him.
He lost not only his endorsement contract with Air Academy Federal Credit Union, but another contract with CenturyLink. CenturyLink explained, “We completely respect Brandon Marshall’s personal decision and right to take an action to support something in which he strongly believes. America is anchored in the right of individuals to express their beliefs. While we acknowledge Brandon’s right, we also believe that whatever issues we face, we also occasionally must stand together to show our allegiance to our common bond as a nation. In our view, the national anthem is one of those moments. For this reason, while we wish Brandon the best this season, we are politely terminating our agreement with him.”
Fans this season, for reasons that are still not clear to the NFL high brass even if they are crystal clear to everyone else, have been tuning out resulting in a drop in the ratings game for five straight weeks. By double digits. As explained above, that means the advertisers lose money. Due to that, the NFL must compensate the sponsors with free ad time – a missed revenue opportunity. Will this cost the owners of the franchises enough to change the NFL’s National Anthem policies? Only time will tell.