As a businessman and someone who owns an athletics company, I cannot comprehend what the NFL have been trying to do the last few years when it comes to marketing their brand. I am not a hardcore NFL fan by any stretch of the imagination, but I do follow the NFL pretty closely and I know I can speak on behalf of the majority of NFL fans when I say this: what the hell was Maroon 5 doing up there last night?
When I think of the NFL, I think of beer, barbecue, hard hits, America, and great entertainment. Looking at halftime shows of the past, you had Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band, a powerful performance from U2, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Michael Jackson, Prince, The Black Eyed Peas, The Rolling Stones, etc. Those are all classic (maybe exclude BEP from that list of classic bands or artists) American artists that any household name would know, but more importantly their music is more acclimated to a football game.
Maroon 5 on the other hand, not so much. When I think of Maroon 5, I think of corny love songs, soccer moms, background music at a grocery store, and wish washy feelings. There is not a single thing about Maroon 5 that screams, “football.”
But this goes far beyond just a halftime show. Yes, while this article up to this point has been me bitching about Maroon 5, but the NFL has a marketing crisis on their hands. They have been pandering to the casual fans more than the actual fans.
Look at the whole national anthem kneeling that they had with Colin Kaepernick. While I do not dispute the points that the national anthem kneeling brought up, they are marketing it to the entirely wrong audience. I am going out on a limb saying this, but I am pretty certain that when people turn on the TV to watch a NFL game, they aren’t expected to be on the receiving end of a lecture by professional athletes on today’s pressing social issues. A large amount of those athletes who kneeled for the anthem like Kareem Hunt, have been the defendant in criminal domestic abuse cases.
I know from my standpoint, I have a hard time taking morality lessons from people who beat the shit out of their girlfriends. That is why I turned the TV off the 2016 season (and the fact the Browns were abysmal also helped that decision.)
The NFL viewership dropped 11% in 2016, and studies point to the decline in rates from the anthem protests. And it continued to decline the remainder of the season. There was a telephone poll that out of 1,000 participants, 32% of the participants said that they were, “less likely” to watch a NFL game because of the protests.
And the issue was not the protests, it was the way the NFL was handling the situation. If I was Rodger Goodell, I would have the very next week shut down the protests by having the teams stay in the locker room for the National Anthem. It was a simple fix, but in typical Goodell fashion, he pandered around what he wanted to do to appease the masses, just like what they did with having Maroon 5 as the halftime show.
The die hard NFL fans who are buying season tickets, merchandise and watching games I would guarantee you are not vegan, wine sipping, vodka soda drinking, social justice warriors. They are red blooded, beer drinking Americans who watch a football game to watch FOOTBALL, not be lectured on politics, social issues and having to listen to the dreadful Maroon 5.
Here is to hoping that doesn’t happen in the future, but it is Rodger Goodell, I don’t have high hopes.