Boycott the NFL Draft! — A Guest Column

14 Mar

— From guest columnist Umair “Crazylegs” Dandia —

In the battle between millionaires and billionaires, thousandaires are King.

So you’re sitting idly by as people play with your happiness, your passion, and in some extreme cases your reason to live. Football. You live it, you breathe it, and you spend a lot of your precious time and money on it. Now all of a sudden you might not get your fix. Decertification. Lockout. The NFL and NFLPA have been paying lip service to us fans. They want us to know it’s the other guy’s fault that football in 2011 is up in the air.

So do we fans have a say in this? Are we really at THEIR mercy? I say no and if we can come together as fans (yes even those who root for the Jets) we can end this nonsense and reclaim OUR game. After all this is about money, and when they say they want what’s best for the game, the game they are referring to is Monopoly.

So here are some stats to chew on:

The 2011 Superbowl was watched by 111 million viewers topping you guessed it, 2009’s Superbowl which was watched by 106.5 million viewers. This is why advertisers pony up to $3 million for a 30 second commercial.

According to Nielsen, 207,000,000 unique viewers watched the 2010 regular season games.

Approximately 2 million people subscribe to NFL Ticket at $300 a pop, which amounts to about $600 million a year.

And last but definitely not least, this past season more viewers watched the NFL Draft than the NBA playoffs. We’d rather watch middle-aged white men rush their teams draft cards up to the commissioner than watch Lebron or Kobe do their thing in a playoff game. And that my friends is the power we hold.

I propose we fans BOYCOTT this year’s draft and send the league and its players a message. Agents are reportedly advising their clients not to physically attend the draft. Fans, we should follow suit. Can you imagine an empty Radio City Music Hall? Can you imagine their reaction when their ratings plummet as we force ourselves to watch the NBA playoffs?

We can get our updates through Twitter, the internet, and by any other means. But I say don’t go to the draft if you were planning on it, and by all means don’t watch it on TV. I know some of you live for the draft, and the thought of not watching already has you twitching. THAT is what the NFL and the players are betting on. You can’t walk away from the game, they have you by the balls. When they see the ratings fall, they won’t risk losing their fan base the way MLB did. Baseball still hasn’t recovered.

My message to you, and I hope you pass this message along. Tell your friends, tell your co-workers, put it on Facebook, etc. BOYCOTT the draft! If the Egyptians can get rid of Mubarak I think we can nudge these guys to get a new CBA done. I’m not watching the draft this year if there’s no CBA, I hope you all join me!

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8 Responses to “Boycott the NFL Draft! — A Guest Column”

  1. derek March 14, 2011 at 4:04 pm #

    yea no chance that i will miss the draft sorry

  2. Umair March 14, 2011 at 4:57 pm #

    I know how you feel Derek I’ve never missed the draft before. That’s exactly what the NFL is counting on, their brand is so strong they can do as they please. All I’m saying is I rather miss the draft to make a point then miss any games during the season.

    • EricG March 15, 2011 at 10:05 am #

      Umair — I dig the enthusiasm and agree with the spirit of the post, but every time someone calls for a TV boycott like this, I think they’re missing the one crucial element:

      If you’re not a Nielsen family, it doesn’t matter.

      As you probably know, TV ratings are decided by an incredibly small fraction of the population chosen by the Nielsen corporation. Every rating number (14.8 million viewers, 3.9 million aged 18-49, blah blah) is just an extrapolation off a fractionally-sized survey sample.

      I know this, amongst other reasons, because I was such a ‘Nielsen Family’ for two and a half years. Every single show we watched was scanned by boxes attached to all our TV sets. They also knew when we were playing video games, watching satellite, listening to digital music, etc. And our one household represented, as I understood it, approximately 30,000 households.

      I am no longer a Nielsen family (the average length of a Nielsen family ‘contract’ is 2 years), which means what I now watch doesn’t matter at all in the ratings. So I can watch the draft (which I most assuredly will), and it won’t matter.

      Now, that said — if you began a campaign to find the Nielsen families (which is tough — we’re told to never tell anyone else that we’re part of the program, but, c’mon, everyone does — and it’s really hard to hide the giant blinking boxes on top of your entertainment unit), then perhaps you’d have something there.

      “Hey, are you a Nielsen Family? Then don’t watch the draft. Better yet, DO watch it, but do it over at my house where it won’t register.”

      That’s win-win for everyone.
      I know this for

      • Dan Ewen March 15, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

        Eric,

        If viewers use their DVR to record some or all of the draft, doesn’t that register with the ratings, whether they’re Nielsen or not?

        Signed,

        Curious in Cali.

  3. EricG March 15, 2011 at 9:09 pm #

    Dear Curious in Cali,

    Nope, the DVR ratings don’t count unless they’re Nielsen-monitored DVRs. Those are traditionally called the +7 ratings (and I think there’s +3 and +14 as well these days), but they’re still based on Nielsen households.

    That said, we do know that the TiVo company monitors their own systems, because after every Super Bowl, for example, they’re always coming out with “yesterday’s most-rewatched Super Bowl moment.” I remember the first time that happened, about 10 years ago, at which point I realized that this box I’d willfully purchased and brought into my house was now spying on me.

    Anyway, it’s still all about the Nielsens. That said, if a larger boycott can bring attention to the cause, and that attention then reaches said Neilsen families, then perhaps the effort will have been worth it.

    But I’m still watching. I ain’t go no box no mo’.

    • Dan Ewen March 15, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

      Who does Tivo tell? Weird.

      I actually think huge, boffo ratings for the draft would remind everyone what’s at stake.

  4. Umair March 16, 2011 at 2:56 pm #

    Eric, I actually thought abt that aspect as I wrote my views, but I think if fans were vocal even about threatening to boycott the draft I think it would receive a lot of attention. That being said I’m just grateful to be able to express my view on this blog. I appreciate your feedback as well. When its all said and done we all just want one thing, football!

  5. Mike March 29, 2011 at 2:03 pm #

    I like the spirit behind the idea, but I think there is a greater likelihood of success if the goal were to organize a boycott of official NFL sponsors (Pepsi comes to mind). If their sponsors get upset with the negative association with the NFL, they would have a better chance of swaying the NFL into action than fans not watching the draft- which without a Nielsen survey is a tree falling in a forest without anyone around.

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