NFL Advertisers Threaten To Pull Ads If NBC Keeps Covering Anthem Protests

Nick Kangadis | November 7, 2017
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The bottom line at the end of the day for any business venture is that money does the talking. But, according to a recent advertising event held in New York, that money could begin walking, should NBCUniversal continue to cover athletes' national anthem protests.

NBCUniversal’s Chairman of Advertising Sales Linda Yaccarino spoke during the event held by ad agency R/GA about how advertisers aren’t exactly huge fans of the protests.

“Marketers have said, 'We will not be part of the NFL if you continue covering it,'" Yaccarino revealed.

Yaccarino’s statement comes roughly a week after pizza chain giant Papa John’s announced that the company pulled its ads associated with the NFL, saying the protests had been bad for their business. Founder John Schnatter criticized NFL leadership for not resolving the protesting issue much sooner. Schnatter also said that the NFL’s falling ratings, due to the protests, has hurt his business, since Papa John’s is the official pizza chain of the NFL.

According to Business Insider:

On Friday, Yaccarino said that while it was hard to say for certain, she thought the protests had affected the ratings.

Going forward, marketers want more of the focus on games and less on the protests. Yaccarino said the NFL's broadcast partners had not always aired the national anthem for each game — that is, until the protests gained steam.

Television ratings have seen a precipitous drop comparatively over the past couple of years since the protests began when currently unemployed quarterback Colin Kaepernick started protesting during the 2016 season.

If the NFL and NBCUniversal are not careful, ratings and ticket sales won’t be the only revenue streams to fall off.