Tags: women | nfl | abuse | cases

Women Start Tuning Out NFL for Abuse-Case Mistakes: Sports Line

Friday, 24 October 2014 07:04 AM

Some women are starting to tune out the National Football League as it deals with the fallout from its mishandling of domestic-abuse incidents involving players.

Early evidence shows that there has been a dropoff in TV viewership of games by women, who in recent years have been the NFL’s fastest-growing fan segment.

Sports Line asked Ebiquity Plc, a media marketing and analytics firm, to look at female viewership this season. The results show it’s down 4 percent for Sunday games as compared with 2013 -- and down 5 percent for Monday night games.

That’s a stark contrast to a year earlier, when female viewership jumped 20 percent on Sundays as compared to 2012 -- and was up 13 percent on Monday nights.

Neil Capobianco, managing director of media for Ebiquity in North America, looked at viewership from Aug. 1 to Sept. 30 -- including preseason games and the first four weeks of the regular season -- based on Nielsen Co. data.

That period began a week after running back Ray Rice received his original two-game NFL suspension and ended three weeks after he was cut by the Baltimore Ravens and suspended indefinitely by the NFL when a video became public showing him punching his fiancee inside an elevator.

The viewership period examined by Ebiquity also included the indictment of Adrian Peterson on child-abuse charges and the arrest of Jonathan Dwyer on domestic-abuse charges, as well as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s repeated acknowledgments he “got it wrong” in handling Rice’s case.

Colleague Mason Levinson reported this week that the NFL had the 12 most-viewed programs on network television from Sept. 1 through Oct. 15, and that the percentage of U.S. homes tuned into games was up 6 percent from the same period in 2013.

But Ebiquity’s numbers should be troubling for the NFL, because 45 percent of current fans are women and any drop in female interest could threaten growth.

The Oakland Raiders are 0-6 for the first time since 1962, eight years before the merger brought them from the American Football League into the NFL.

The silver and black have lost 12 straight games, dating back to the middle of last season, and are the only winless team left in the NFL now that the Jacksonville Jaguars got a victory against Cleveland.

Arizona defensive lineman Darnell Dockett taunted Raiders fans by scribbling “0-6, worst team in football” on a sideline whiteboard at the end of the Cardinals’ 24-13 win at Oakland last weekend, and there’s ample evidence to back him up.

The Raiders, who fired coach Dennis Allen three weeks ago and are now under the command of interim coach Tony Sparano, are last among the league’s 32 teams in total offense (282.7 yards per game) and are the only NFL team to have scored fewer than 100 points so far this season (they have 92).

On top of that, they’re the only team to have lost to the Jets this season, a 19-14 defeat in New York on the season’s opening weekend.

The Raiders’ “Commitment to Excellence” slogan has become snark bait to football pundits. Unlike Jacksonville, things probably won’t get better against Cleveland this weekend. Sports bookmakers make the host Browns a 7-point favorite.

The Florida Panthers are back to their accustomed spot -- near the bottom of the National Hockey League in performance and attendance -- in their second season since being bought by former New York Mercantile Exchange chairman Vincent Viola. It comes as the team is going to the local government asking for a $78.4 million bailout.

Viola and Douglas Cifu bought the Panthers in 2013 for $240 million, and got a franchise that made the playoffs once since 2000 and finished no higher than 21st in attendance among the 30 NHL clubs since the 2006-07 season.

This year, the Panthers have lost their only two home games. They had their smallest crowd for a home opener when 11,648 tickets were sold for a 5-1 loss to the New Jersey Devils on Oct. 11, and a franchise-worst attendance of 7,311 at a 1-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators two days later.

Viola, founder and chairman of electronic trading firm Virtu Financial Inc., and Cifu, president of Virtu Financial, stopped offering free and discounted tickets to entice fans to the $185 million BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.

The Panthers say they are losing $25 million to $30 million a year, so they need the help from Broward County. The Panthers have 14 seasons left on their lease at the arena, which is about 30 miles north of Miami, and $63 million in remaining debt payments.

Viola and Cifu wrote an open letter to fans on Sept. 17 vowing “we have no plans or intentions to move this franchise,” and pointing out they had committed more than $80 million to free agents and other new players this offseason.

The Panthers won’t be entertaining empty seats for a while -- they are on a 17-day road trip, and won’t play at home again until Oct. 30. By then, they might have a few wins and a reason for fans to pay full price for tickets. Meanwhile, county officials are still considering the bailout.

  • World Series trivia tidbit No. 1: Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar and catcher Salvador Perez wear women’s perfume during games as a superstition.
  •  World Series trivia tidbit No. 2: The Giants have won nine straight postseason series since the start of the 2010 playoffs, the second-longest streak in MLB history behind the 11-series run of the New York Yankees from the American League Division Series in 1998 to the AL Championship Series in 2001.
  • World Series trivia tidbit No. 3: Royals General Manager Dayton Moore, assistant general manager J.J. Picollo and scouting director Lonnie Goldberg all played college baseball at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia. All were together on the Patriots’ 1993 team -- Moore as an assistant coach, Goldberg as the second baseman and Picollo as the catcher. Moore, also a second baseman, graduated in 1989.


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Some women are starting to tune out the National Football League as it deals with the fallout from its mishandling of domestic-abuse incidents involving players. Early evidence shows that there has been a dropoff in TV viewership of games by women, who in recent years have...
women, nfl, abuse, cases
Friday, 24 October 2014 07:04 AM
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