TV Earnings Estimates Hammered by Declining NFL Viewership

Empty Stadium - NFL - TV Earnings Losses - 2017

Financial analysts are slashing TV earnings per share estimates for the National Football League’s television network partners.

According to CNBC, Credit Suisse has cut third-quarter EPS estimates for CBS by 5 percent due to the NFL’s declining television ratings. An analyst for the multinational financial services firm issued the following statement:

We expect third-quarter network advertising to decline 3 percent (previously +1 percent), driven by soft ratings for both the summer schedule and for the start of the NFL season. With only one of the three content licensing deals we expected for the second half announced in third quarter, we also expect content licensing revenue growth to be skewed to the fourth quarter.

This update comes on the heels of a similar report issued last week for Twenty-First Century Fox, the other major network to carry the NFL’s Sunday afternoon games. Both FOX and CBS are expected to release third quarter earnings reports in the coming weeks.

It appears the fans’ distaste for the controversial national anthem protests is having a real impact on the bottom line of the companies that do business with the NFL. DirecTV, the owner of the NFL’s premium out-of-market package, has issued full refunds to viewers outraged by the protests. Also, Anheuser-Busch had a customer hotline shut down due to the volume of calls regarding the company’s sponsorship of the league.

We reported last week on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s call for players to stand during the anthem. However, as the protests continue, the financial fallout may be just now beginning.

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