Photo by Coemgenus via Wikimedia
We need to do something (HINT: #boycottNFLsponsors)
Why is it so hard to affect the NFL and its disgraceful responses to abusive players? After all, women are 45% of the NFL fan base. It makes sense to care what we think.
Sadly, there’s that other thing. To see what we’re up against, follow the money.
Team owners make money from tickets and souvenirs but even more from TV contracts and the networks who pay for them. It’s all nicely divided up. In the 2011 9-year NFL-broadcast contract, CBS gets American Football Conference games – and is asking $500,000 for thirty second spots, according to Forbes, Fox carries the National Football Conference and NBC broadcasts Sunday night in prime time – with ads going for $628,000/30-second spot. Each network gets an exclusive crack at three of the nine Super Bowls and all the revenue that comes with it. (Bloomberg News)
Here’s what Forbes said this time a year ago, “Live appointment television—already extremely important—will only grow in significance in coming years, as television programming and audiences continue to fragment. On TV, the NFL is king.”
This morning (9/15/14) Joe Scarborough, never one for impulse control, lashed out at NYT columnist Alan Schwarz for his mention of the failure of broadcasters to acknowledge their own complicity in the shameful collaboration among the NFL, sponsors and the networks who charge them for their ads.
It’s like the story of the nail and the horse and the war*: Sponsors pay the networks, networks pay the NFL, the NFL divides the revenue among the teams and the owners combine these huge paydays with their ticket sales.
Listen to the Wall Street Journal describe the most recent TV rights auction:
The auction was a sign of the NFL’s huge leverage over television networks, which are increasingly looking to the NFL to help fortify them against the rise of online video services, the stagnation of pay TV and other threats. “It’s almost like the networks are afraid to say no to the NFL,” says one senior TV executive involved in the bidding process for Thursday night games.
So. If the NFL is king and everyone, especially the TV networks who profit from ad revenue, ratings and football programming in general, are enablers then we have to make it scarier to continue than to take a stand. That means finding, and boycotting, NFL sponsors and letting the network brass know what we’re doing. (I boycotted Greece for years during the Junta years. Then an Amnesty International leader told me “If they don’t know why you’re not coming, it doesn’t do any good. You need to write to them and tell them why you’re not there.“)
That’s the other part of it. We need to be noisy and bold and brassy and (forgive me Ms. Sandburg) bossy about this – holler like hell in support of our sisters and put our money where our mouths are. Nobody needs any of the stuff that advertise on NFL games and there are alternatives for all of them anyway.
Women’s bodies should not be paying for the bad business planning of television networks; if they won’t take a stand with the NFL, let them find another way to make their money!
Here are a few major #NFLsponsors — MAKE SURE TO LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU’RE DOING AND WHY:
UPDATE: See this Jezebel story on CoverGirl, too.
Microsoft @Microsoft (big deal w/NFL to use ONLY Surface Tablets and other MS technology on the sidelines
Gatorade @gatorade Bud Light @budlight
Visa @visa Verizon @verizon
Papa John’s @PapaJohns FedEx @FedEx
Marriott @Marriott Pepsi @pepsi
General Motors @GM Campbell’s Soup @CampbellSoupCo
#boycottNFLsponsors Please add more in comments!
*For Want of a Nail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost.
For want of a shoe the horse was lost.
For want of a horse the rider was lost.
For want of a rider the message was lost.
For want of a message the battle was lost.
For want of a battle the kingdom was lost.
And all for the want of a horseshoe nail.