The NFL continues to feel the pain from football players’ national anthem protests. NBC Universal’s head of advertising, Linda Yaccarino, said network advertisers are not happy with the ongoing protests. They’re so unhappy, in fact, that marketers told the network to stop airing the protests or they will pull their ads, Business Insider reported.
Speaking during an interview Friday, Yaccarino said that while no advertisers have pulled out of NFL games yet, that could change. Yaccarino said that although it’s hard to prove definitively, she believes the protests are having a negative impact on ratings.
“I don’t think there’s any way to prove it, but I do think it has affected the ratings,” she said during a “fireside chat” with Oath CEO Tim Armstrong at the Manhattan offices of Verizon’s media agency, R/GA.
She may not think there is a way to prove it, but anyone paying attention is well aware that protests are a big problem for the league. Yaccarino said there are many advertisers who are reaching a boiling point.
“There is a list of advertisers that have made themselves very clear: ‘If you continue to cover the political coverage of the issue, we will not be part of the NFL,’” Yaccarino said, according to Deadline.
“Think about it — they have half the country that is cheering about that and half the country that is emailing them saying, ‘Don’t do that.’ That’s a real thing.”
Last Wednesday, Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter attributed slow sales in the third quarter of 2017 to the controversy surrounding the protests, asserting that the controversy was diminishing the pizza chain’s advertising.
“NFL leadership has hurt Papa John’s shareholders,” Schnatter said, in a call with analysts, as reported by CBS. “This should have been nipped in the bud a year and a half ago.”
Schnatter criticized NFL leadership for letting the issue fester.
“We’re certainly disappointed that NFL and its leadership did not resolve the ongoing situation to the satisfaction of all parties this year, year-and-a-half ago,” he said.
“Good or bad, leadership starts at the top, and this is an example of poor leadership,” the CEO said.
Schnatter hit the nail on the head, and his comments reflect how many Americans feel about the matter. That’s probably why advertisers are reconsidering advertising during NFL games.