We've said before that public opinion doesn't mean a damn thing to NFL owners as they decide Roger Goodell's future, only money. So they have to be a bit worried that some of their advertisers have specifically requested that their commercials not run during Ravens or Vikings game.
Multiple media buyers tell THR that clients have requested their ads not appear during games featuring the Ravens or Minnesota Vikings, the team of suspended running back Adrian Peterson (due in a Texas court Oct. 8 on a child abuse charge for whipping his 4-year-old son). CBS, which kicked off its $275 million Thursday Night Football package Sept. 11 with strong ratings for a Ravens game, had one sponsor ask to be removed from the broadcast and another request its ads shift, likely away from a discussion of the violence issue during CBS Sports' pregame report. CBS declined to identify the sponsors.
No sponsor has pulled its ads entirely—the NFL's viewership, which spans all demographics, remains enormous and enormously valuable.
So, how about those viewers? We know large numbers haven't tuned out. But THR notes a study that found that despite near-constant year-over-year ratings gains, male viewership has been flat since 2009. Which would imply that the NFL's recent growth has relied solely on women, and 25 percent of women surveyed say the league's handling of the Ray Rice case has turned them off of the product.