Blogs

Analyzing The NFL’s Popularity

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 15, 2011 – 7:47 am

NFL fans have been beaten down with legal mumbo jumbo and seemingly never-ending discussion about labor issues and work stoppages over the past several months. But positive developments have occurred lately and it’s become apparent that progress is being made as the NFL and the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) continue to meet and hammer out their differences.

And that’s a good thing, of course. Perhaps the most prevailing sentiment among those caught in the crossfire of the NFL’s labor situation (the fans) is something along the lines of “they have it so good right now, why are they messing it up?” If I had a nickel for every time someone said that to me or wrote that in an email, I could pay the legal fees for both the NFL and the NFLPA.

But as old as that saying has become over the past several months, there’s no denying how true it is. The NFL and its players are experiencing unprecedented popularity and success right now, so it’s a good thing that they’re on the verge of figuring out their labor disagreements because much more bickering between the two sides could cause a negative shift in popularity and, consequently, success.

The NFL Research Department, along with several other groups and organizations, constantly conducts polls and studies to analyze the performance of the NFL relative to other leagues and relative to the NFL’s past performance. According to the latest numbers released by the NFL Research Department, the NFL is dominating the American sports landscape. I’ve taken a deep look at the recent research and have pulled out a few important notes that will illustrate to you A) how popular the NFL is in America, B) how dominant the NFL is over other sports and C) how much there is to lose if a resolution to the current labor impasse isn’t reached soon. Take a look…

– Respondents were asked to identify their “favorite sport” and more than twice as many people identify the NFL as their favorite sport than the 2nd place MLB. In fact, more people selected the NFL as their “favorite sport” than select MLB, NBA, and NASCAR combined. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll

– The 2010 NFL regular season was the most-watched in 21 years (2nd best all-time) and the highest rated in 14 years; the playoffs following the 2010 season were the most-viewed of all-time. Super Bowl XLV is the most-viewed program in U.S. history, with a total audience of 163 million. *source: NFL Research, The Nielson Company

– While generating a TV audience is obviously important, there’s nothing that can replace the actual game day experience at a stadium/arena. To that end, NFL fans do a better job than any other sports league’s fans at getting into the stadium. 60% of “Avid” NFL fans attended a football game in the past year, which is the highest level of any sports league. *source: NFL, Fan Conduct Attendee Research 2010

– The NFL is the leader in sports apparel sales with over $900 million in sales for 2010. This represents 22% of the overall “sport logo apparel” market. The 2nd place league is MLB with $645 million in sales. *source: NPD, Calendar Year 2010

– Respondents were asked to list their “favorite pro sports teams” and 11 of the top 15 teams listed were NFL clubs (Dallas, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New Orleans, Minnesota and New England). Also, more NFL teams are cited as “favorite pro sports teams” than the total number of MLB, NBA and NHL teams combined. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll 2008-10

– The Vikings take pride in their community involvement, as all 53 members of the team’s roster have participated in at least one community event every year for the past 4 years. The NFL as a league takes pride in community involvement also. Commitment to community is something that is associated with the NFL, according to research conducted by the NFL and ESPN. Among the total U.S. Population, the majority (29%) believe that NFL players care more about community efforts than any other league; the 2nd place league was MLB at 13%. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll, March 2010

– Those responsible for marketing and selling NFL merchandise and those responsible for making the NFL brand a strong brand in the market place are doing a good job, according to research by the NFL and ESPN. In fact, 31% of respondents indicated that they are more likely to consider purchasing a product with the NFL Shield logo on it. *source: NFL Research, ESPN Sports Poll, November 2010


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 25 Comments »


25 Responses to “Analyzing The NFL’s Popularity”

  1. By Parody on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    I’m a little confused by the following statement, “11 of the top 15 teams listed were NFL clubs (Dallas, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Green Bay, New Orleans, Minnesota and New England)”

    Was there a typo (7 of the top 15 clubs instead of 11/15) or did you only decide to list 7 of them for an undisclosed reason?

    Of those 7 teams listed, 5 of them have been to the Super Bowl at least once in the past 5-years, and each of those 5 have won the Super Bowl at least once in the last 7-years. Dallas being the only team other than the Vikings not appearing, but as we all know, Dallas ruled the game in the early 90s, winning 3-times while also winning two in the 70s and losing another 3.

    With all of this, I was pretty surprised to see Minnesota within that list. Either the poll results were not nearly randomized enough, or Minnesota is America’s underdog. Kind of makes you feel proud, in a wierd sort of way.

  2. By Parody on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Some more about that – in the past 20-years, those 6-teams have won the Super Bowl 12-times. If I were to guess, based on this information, I would say that the Giants and Broncos are among the other 4-teams that weren’t listed, having both won the Super Bowl twice and lost it once in the past 20-years.

    The biggest underdog in this group is the Bills, having lost the Super Bowl 4-consecutive times from 91-94, so I’d also be interested to see if they happened to be one of the four unlisted teams, or if the Vikings truly are America’s Underdog.

  3. By Cpt. Cool on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    I think that means that some of those seven teams were listed more than once. seven teams for a toatal of 11. Took a second look to get it.

  4. By Parody on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Of course, all of the listed teams were EXPECTED to do well in the 2010 season, with Dallas and Minnesota not living up to expectations. So it’s probably just as likely that the results of the survey indicated just how heavy of a fair weather fanbase exists in the US.

    I’d be interested to see how much this survey changes if teams like the Lions and Raiders rose to the top of the league, and how quickly it would turn.

  5. By Parody on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    @Cpt. Cool – it says “11 of the top 15 teams listed were NFL clubs”

    Your conjecture implies that only 15-people were surveyed, which is not the case, and if it were then the survey is pointless. How can you possibly gauge the opinion of hudreds of millions of fans off of 15-people?

  6. By Parody on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    I did just notice something else within the blog that indicates the numbers could be biased: ” According to the latest numbers released by the NFL Research Department”

    The NFL ruled in all of the listed categories, on a survey conducted by the NFL. This doesn’t implicitly mean that the results are false, but it makes them less trustworthy than if the study were conducted by one or more of the “several other groups and organizations, [that] constantly conducts polls and studies to analyze the performance of the NFL relative to other leagues and relative to the NFL’s past performance.”

  7. By Titus on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Hey Mike– NEVER start a sentence with a numeral, unless it is a year. You either restructure the sentence or spell out the number. Example — this is a sentence from your article:

    60% of “Avid” NFL fans attended a football game in the past year, which is the highest level of any sports league. *source: NFL, Fan Conduct Attendee Research 2010

    It should be Sixty percent of…

    This is a well known rule in professional writing.

  8. By Shawn on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    lol … poor Mike Wobs

  9. By Gubber on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Is it just me, or does everybody seem to be losing interest in the NFL.
    I would suggest the owners and players get their butts back to the bargaining table and get this thing settled before fans realize that there are other things to do and spend money on besides to very greedy groups.

  10. By Frederick Jones on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Good article Mike Wobschall,

    The information was probably accurate, even though it was random.

  11. By Frederick Jones on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    The NFLPA, and the owners are taking it for granted that Americans will stay interested in football no matter what.

    But other sports will gain in popularity if there is a long strike.

    LaCrosse will benefit. Soccer will benefit. Baseball will benefit.

    If the season doesn’t start on time, you can predict some loss in popularity.

  12. By Frederick Jones on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    @Parody,

    I watched that old video about Brett Favre again.

    Remember when Brett was first signed in 2009, and he gave his first Vikings Presser? To me, it was like unreal that Brett Favre was actually a Viking. I kept expecting someone to say it wasn’t true!!!

    Then Favre and the Vikings had such a great year !

    He just gave in to pressure and came back when he shouldn’t have in 2010. Listening to him talk, in his first 2010 presser, YOU KNEW HE MADE A MISTAKE coming back. If somebody gave me the authority, I think I would have told him to go back to Mississippi.

  13. By Frederick Jones on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    What would the result be if Joe Namath, or Fran Tarkenton made a comeback next season? Or how about Troy Aikman? John Elway?

    They would have looked ridiculous.

    I choose to remember Brett Favre for the great season he had in 2009. I can forget his 2010.

  14. By Titus on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    I honestly do not think Brett wanted to come back– he knew his ankle was severely hurt and not recovered– but he also knew he might regret not coming back, considering logic had it he might end his career with a Superbowl– but goes to show, no matter how your season ended, it does not often carry into the next— at least that is heartwarming when I think of Green Bay.

  15. By Titus on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Speaking of other sports, Tour de France starts in about 3 weeks.

  16. By Frederick Jones on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    @Titus,

    I just finished reading about Billy “White Shoes” Johnson. Did you know that he was a 15th round draft choice out of Widener College?

    He would not have been drafted today.

    This means that we are not done finding people to make our roster complete. There could easily be another “White Shoes” out there.

  17. By Parody on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Tour de France? NASCAR is more of a spectator sport than that! And NASCAR is just cars driving in a circle 500 times. Might as well be watching the fan spin. At least then, you get to 500 laps a lot faster, (especially if you turn it up to high power) and can move on to something interesting!

    But yea, as far as other sports, I really wish that I could watch more Twins, even if they’re doing poorly. Some reason Dish Network leaves FSN out of their basic package, so I’m left out in the cold on that deal.

  18. By CA Norwegian on Jun 15, 2011 | Reply

    Mike… Thanks for putting in the time and effort, I enjoyed the article.
    Had Favre not been such a fanbase himself… We might know more about Webb. Favre said he had nothing left to prove. It seemed that it was more about padding his career stats than anything else. I wonder if we missed Chester Taylor that much, or could he have made more short plays on 3rd down, instead of down the field misses.

  19. By Parody on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    CA Norwegian – I agree with you on Favre’s stat-padding. A lot of times it seemed WAY too similar to the movie Mr. 300. He came out of retirement and every game he played, it seemed that he only cared about getting to the next monumental number for his career, like TD #500 to Randy Moss. Did the team win that game? Who cares! *sarcasm* Favre threw his 500th TD!!

  20. By Mike B on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    Parody, Another team has also lost 4 Superbowls other than Buffalo. I don’t think I have to mention the teams name here. That could make the team American’s underdog. I also believe the Broncos have 4 losses in the Superbowl but have 2 wins.

  21. By Mike B on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    I look at Farve’s return for the 2010 season as Childress’s biggest blunder. I don’t think we would have been any worse off with TJack, Sage, and Webb. I think that was a mistake with 3OM on the line with Farve to insist he come to the preseason. He did not look very good all year, but had moments greatness. It is a team game and obviously many parts had issues, so not all can be blamed on Farve. The blame squarely rested on Childress and the reason he is no longer the coach. I still feel looking back, we would have been no worse last year leaving Farve to mow his lawn. We would now know about TJack, Sage, and Webb. That part is unfortunate. Have a great day. I hope football starts soon.

  22. By Frederick Jones on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    We are many parts, but we are all one body. And the gifts we have, we are given to share…..

    Favre was a Catholic Choctaw Indian !

    I’LL REMEMBER HIM FOR 2009, WHEN HE WAS PERHAPS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE ENTIRE NFL ! ! !

    We are many parts, but we are all one body…..

  23. By DRS on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    This is from

    http://minnesota.cbslocal.com/2011/06/14/vikings-stadium-backers-meet-but-no-breakthrough/

    Dayton says he wants agreement by Friday so legislators can draw up a bill the public can review. But Dayton and lawmakers also agree the bill can’t start moving at the Capitol until a state budget deal is reached to avoid a government shutdown

  24. By DRS on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    Maybe some Movement? Who knows?

  25. By Parody on Jun 16, 2011 | Reply

    @Mike B – No you don’t need to mention the team’s name. That was one of the reasons that I figured the Vikings count as America’s underdogs. Knowing that Buffalo has had it just as bad as the Vikings over the years is why I thought they deserved consideration, in contrast to the Broncos who have also won the Super Bowl.

Post a Comment