Paul Bedard reports for the Washington Examiner, Oct. 7, 2017, that a Winston Group representative survey of 1,000 registered voter, taken on August 29-30 and then again September 28-29, found that after just one month of player, coach, and owner protests of the flag and National Anthem, the National Football League (NFL), which already saw lower TV ratings and empty stadium seats, has gone from the quintessential American sport to the least liked of top professional and college sports.
From the survey:
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- NFL now has the highest unfavorable rating – 40% – of any big sport.
- Favorable ratings for the NFL have dropped from 57% to 44%.
- Among fans, ratings plummeted from 73% favorable/19% unfavorable in August, to 42% favorable/47% unfavorable in September.
- While every category of NFL fan saw a drop in support, among football’s core fan base — men aged 34-54 — favorable ratings fell 31%, from 73% to 42%, while their negative image of the NFL rose from +54% in August to -5% in September.
The Winston Poll was of brand images for the NFL, Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), and college football and basketball.
In August, the poll found that the NFL had the second highest favorables, just a few points below baseball:
- MLB: 61% favorable to 13% unfavorable.
- NFL: 57% favorable to 23% unfavorable.
- College football: 53% favorable to 16% unfavorable.
- College basketball: 48% favorable to 17% unfavorable.
- NBA: 47% favorable to 23% unfavorable.
A month later in September, a Winston Poll found that the NFL had the highest unfavorables:
- MLB: 63% favorable to 16% unfavorable.
- College football: 51% favorable to 21% unfavorable.
- NBA: 46% favorable to 28% unfavorable.
- College basketball: 45% favorable to 25% unfavorable.
- NFL: 44% favorable to 40% unfavorable.
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