NFL’s Problem is Poor Product, not Disrespect

President Trump has lambasted the NFL more than 20 times for players’ ‘Total Disrespect of Our Great Country.’ Ratings are down for NFL games and Trump figures it’s because some players aren’t standing, hand over heart, and mouthing the words to the national anthem.
Trump may have made some political hay out of all this, but one only has to follow the money to learn the real reason pro football ratings are down–competition from college football. The fact is, ‘Their product isn’t very good these days,’ Nick Bogdanovich told the Las Vegas Sun. He is the chief oddsmaker for William Hill, which operates 107 sportsbooks in Nevada.
The league that used to claim any team could win on ‘any given Sunday’ has turned into a predictable ‘If you have a quarterback, you have a chance. If you don’t, you don’t,’ as Ben Volin wrote of the Boston Globe at the finish of last year’s regular season. As evidence, he pointed to ‘the four quarterbacks remaining in the playoffs – Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers, and Matt Ryan.’
Jimmy Vaccaro has been running sports books for four decades. He says, it used to be, ‘Nearly $4 on the NFL for every buck on a college game.’ That is no longer the case. Now it is more like 60-40 with the college betting handle gaining.
Joe Drape writes of the sportsbook legend,
And when Vaccaro says he is becoming bearish on the betting health of professional football, you lean in and listen. Last month, for three consecutive weeks, for the first time that he can remember, betting on college football at South Point surpassed betting on the NFL, by as much as $400,000.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on Doug French, Dec 11, 2017.