Though traditional to America, the NFL has generated interest from Americans and Non-Americans across the globe. Faced with stiff competition in terms of popularity from other sports, it seems not to be as popular as it used to be or perhaps facing a decline in interest for some reasons.
To star in the NFL, you have to have a Pro football athlete’s grit, charisma, and aggressiveness, but to express this, you might need to put your health on the line. This statement is accurate from independent yet corresponding research; that has shown Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – a condition amongst present and retired football players.
However, it’s not all gloomy for the NFL, as the league has shown readiness to tackle these challenges, as to if this effort would translate to the expected result– increased followership is yet seen. Moreso, make no mistake, the NFL is still arguably, the most followed league in the sporting world; hence it keeps churning massive amounts of revenue every season. One thing that keeps fans interested in the NFL is the fantasy league, NFL betting, and other guaranteed winnings, as it’s an easy avenue for the old and new fans to keep following the league.
Here are some basic reasons for declining interest in the NFL:
Injury to Players
Sports stakeholders usually see players’ injuries as part of the game for every pro sports athlete. In football, as players put their heart into the game, they tend to stretch every inch of muscle on the body to emphasize their passion, leaving the best players sidelined for weeks, and not just the best players but all pro players at one point or the other.
But when does the risk factor of injury caused by external or internal damage exceed the continuation of this glorious sport? As earlier highlighted, head injury has been a problematic concern for parents and loved ones of prospective and active athletes.
Athletes are retiring at an early age, owning to too many autopsy cases showing brain damage like dementia, nervous breakdown leading to suicide, and other forms of mental illness.
Coronavirus affected businesses of all kinds, including the sports sector. Its devastating effect on the NFL can be cited as declining interest, though maybe in the short term. Still, The league is yet to completely recover from adverse effects of the pandemic like reduced fans attendance, revenue loss, and targeted merch sales to a whole lot behind the scenes in running a franchise in the NFL.
The NFL has been trolled in the stadium and on social media for its player biases on trending political debates. Some players actively lend their voices to the civil rights movements against prejudice and unfair treatment. While some sections of fans are okay with this, another vast majority feel the athletes are doing way more than they should. It’s not the job of a professional athlete, which should be nothing more than that. Whichever stand you think is right, increased displeasure in some quarters would still exist.
Gone are the days when the NFL player’s transfer choice was based only on passion. On a salary basis, you can make a decent income from being a pro athlete in the NFL. To star in the NFL league, however, you must also be among the top earners. Players in the league contract is a topical issue in today’s league, especially regarding equality in earnings. Lucrative deals and endorsements are what a pro player would look at when drafted into the league. Many talent prospects have ruined their careers in the sport due to more concern about side attractions than their main play on the pitch.
With more research and awareness of the mental illness, players are more protected with policy changes regarding tackling and insurance against forms of injury. Based on the declining interest in the NFL, sooner or later, we will be able to tell if the growth curve of the NFL is to be a downward trend. Though some critics have touted it to fall off the global stage like boxing, as a fan, I hope they are wrong.