TV programming content is all about supply and demand. TV networks supply the right level of content to meet TV viewers' demands.
When it comes to the NFL -- TV’s biggest programming enterprise -- there are limitations in how this formula works. Some may say there are too many games -- or too few. But on a per-game basis, NFL TV programming isn’t adding or subtracting game content — leaving out TV commercials for the moment.
The national anthem takes the same length of time to play and/or sing, whether or not players are kneeling to protest a policy/public concern. That said, TV directors/producers may be showing a bit more video of this reaction than the flag -- or any other image.
Some polls suggest TV consumers want to see just the game -- and leave politics offscreen.
In the first games of this season, reports suggested that just six players kneeled or made other forms of protests. This was before President Trump insisted players should be suspended or fired for not standing during the national anthem.
After Trump’s remarks? Some 200 or more players decided to take a knee or protest in some way. Some players stood and locked arms; others even took a knee but held their hands on their hearts -- as in the pledge of allegiance to the U.S. flag. Half-credit, here?
For some, all this public outcry -- or not -- comes down to business: TV commercials. They air before and after the national anthem. Were any affected? Not so far.
A Bloomberg News reports says the NFL and its 32 teams made $1.25 billion from corporate partners last year. National TV advertising for the regular-season NFL games totaled around $4.2 billion, according to iSpot.tv.
So far, virtually all major NFL marketers are mum on the current kneeling situation. One sponsor, Under Armour, tweeted that it “stands for the flag and by our athletes for free speech, expression and a unified America.”
Giving more flexibility to high-spending NFL fans, DirecTV says any customer can cancel the NFL Sunday Ticket, its season-long package of every game -- which costs around $280 per year. We'll wait to see those results.
Many polls say TV viewers just want to see the games. That’s the stuff that happens after the national anthem.