Signs of the Times: The NFL

In case you have not noticed, there are a growing number of die-hard football fans who are turning their backs on the NFL for various reasons.
During a season of prayer back in the spring of 2016 is when I started having the feeling that the NFL will collapse by the end of 2018, though the crumbling of the NFL seemed impossible at the time. In 2015, as the popularity of professional football seemed higher than ever, the NFL recorded record-breaking revenue; yet, as the 2017 NFL season kicked off, the gloom and doom prediction I made in the Spring of 2016 that God will punish the NFL because they are helping push Christian values out of our society appeared to be coming to fruition.
 “NFL Teams Make History by Sponsoring LGBT Pride Event” – – June 2, 2017
In case you have not noticed, there are a growing number of die-hard football fans who are turning their backs on the NFL for various reasons. This loss of fans must be a huge concern to the NFL owners. Did you know that the NFL makes over $7 billion a year from selling television packages to CBS, NBC, Fox, DirecTV and ESPN/ABC? Most of the money the NFL receives from TV networks is in jeopardy at this point if football fans continue to find other things to do on Sundays rather than watch football. 
Sports leagues like the NFL and NBA are thriving financially; they earn billions of dollars from TV networks. Unfortunately for the NFL, the enormous amount of TV revenue they are used to making in the last couple of years will begin to decline as their audience deteriorates. The billion-dollar question is how long TV networks like NBC and FOX will continue to host the NFL if the TV ratings continue to decline at the pace they are now?
I believe the empty stadiums we see in California with the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Chargers and San Francisco 49ers are what we will see across this country in almost every NFL city.
NBC, for example, pays $950 million a year for Sunday Night Football. The money that NBC spends in broadcasting the NFL would be well spent if NFL games could attract an average of over 20 million viewers per game (Sunday night games brought in an average of 22.5 million viewers in 2015). Presently, the NBC is paying the NFL big bucks for the highest rated show on primetime TV.
‘Tough start’ for NFL season — ratings down 13% in Week 1 – Yahoo Finance – September 14, 2017
To put into perspective how dominant the NFL has gotten regarding attracting audiences, Game of Thrones which averages about 11.28 million viewers per show is the number one cable show in 2017. On network TV, NCIS, which consistently pulls over 15 million viewers is the number one scripted show on television. Because network TV must complete with Netflix, Hulu TV, and other growing avenues of entertainment, most TV networks would be thrilled if a couple of their shows attracted over 10 million viewers.
With the millions of people on social media calling football fans to boycott the NFL, it seems clear that the NFL is in for another dip in their ratings during the 2017 season after losing 8% of their audience in 2016. The NFL saw a 12% drop in their TV ratings from the 2016 NFL season opener (New England Patriots vs. Kansas City Chiefs), and this was a bad omen for the NFL. The league also saw almost every single game whether played on Sunday afternoon or Monday night except for Sunday Night Football take a dip in viewers from last year. The low TV ratings coupled with the fact that Los Angeles has two teams with very little fan support is terrible news for the NFL.
“The NFL Is Seriously Concerned With Empty Stadiums” – The Big Lead – September 13, 2017
Let’s imagine that the NFL lost another 12% of their audience in 2017 (In week one of the 2017 NFL season, the league’s ratings dropped 13% from 2016’s week one in live and same-day average viewers according to UBS). The NFL would have lost a total 20% of their TV audience in just 2 years. This would mean that an average NFL game would go from 16.5 million viewers to 14.5 million during the 2017 season. If this scenario occurs in 2017, this makes 2018 a make or break year for the NFL. With the NFL charging TV networks like NBC and ESPN billions of dollars to broadcast their product, it is difficult to envision the NFL surviving declining TV ratings like we are now seeing three years in the row.
To put the NFL’s declining TV ratings into perspective, let’s look at the hit show, Game of Thrones. For season 6 of the Game of Thrones series, HBO forked over an average of $10 million per episode, according to a recent story by Entertainment Weekly (remember this show is averaging over 11 million viewers). Meanwhile, it costs NBC well over $50 million to broadcast one episode of Sunday Night Football. Bear in mind that NBC’s Sunday Night Football ended 2016 with an average of 20.3 million viewers. When you see the Game of Thrones attracting roughly the same number of viewers as the NFL, you know that the end is near for the most successful sports league ever.
 “Twitter Roasts Los Angeles Rams’ Awful Attendance in NFL Opener” – HuffPost – September 11, 2017
I believe that God is using the decline of the NFL and other things like hurricanes and the eclipse to get the attention of this nation. In Daniel 2:21, the Bible tells us that, “He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” It is easy to naïvely think that the God of the Bible has no clue what is going on in our society. Not only does God know precisely what is going on in our world, He is also actively bringing the plans He has for this Earth to fruition.

In Daniel 2:21, the Bible tells us that, “He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.” Do you believe that God is trying to reveal Himself in many ways as we watch various events like the collapse of the NFL?
As we witness the collapse of the NFL, just know that this is another warning sign from God. Who exactly is God currently warning? He is warning organizations like the NFL and Disney to stop pushing biblical values out of our society. The God of the Bible is sending signs and wonders to those who do not believe He is real. God is also trying to wake the church up. I pray America heeds to these warning signs and see the signs of the times that we live in.

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