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Volume 20 No. 41
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The issue of unity: Fans


NFL fans blame the turmoil brought on by the national anthem demonstrations as the biggest reason they are watching less football this fall compared with last season, according to new data from research firm CivicScience.

The Pittsburgh-based group operates real-time, in-market reader surveys online for more than 350 news outlets, content and social networks nationwide. The firm’s research, extracted from a poll that was conducted Sept. 18-23 of 1,416 NFL fans ages 13 and older, and refielded Sept. 24-26 of 1,090 fans, reveals that the share of fans saying that the anthem protests were the main reason they were watching fewer NFL games increased from 26 percent to 43 percent after the protests intensified during Week 3.

The research also shows that although the number of respondents who said they are not watching fewer NFL games held steady over the period of the two surveys, those who had found something else to do during the games were more likely to cite “anthem protests/player politics” as the reason for leaving.

“The demonstrations galvanized the viewers who were already leaving the game, and gave them something significant to rally around,” said Casey Taylor, senior analyst with CivicScience. “But, it didn’t seem to drive anybody new away — at least not yet.”