When the award-winning author of “The Big Short,” “The Blind Side” and “Moneyball,” stopped by Yahoo Finance yesterday to discuss his latest book, “The Undoing Project,” he was predictably asked for his next "Big Short" idea. And, after downplaying the value of his opinion, and those of everyone else for that matter, Lewis offered up a rather surprising answer: "The NFL."
On our afternoon live show The Final Round, we asked Lewis what part of the market might become the next “big short.” He was hesitant to answer, saying, “You’re asking the wrong person. Everybody will be a little stupider, if I answer that question. Can I answer this way: When people roll in with some big prediction, and they actually seem really certain about it, be very suspicious of them… When people come at you and say, ‘Oh, this is the short,’ it’s an interesting exercise, but the more serious they are about their prediction, the less seriously you should take them.”
But after the live show, Lewis thought of the NFL: “The NFL has real business problems. The CTE issues… I’ll give you the next short: the NFL.”
As we've noted multiple times over the past several weeks, as of the halfway point of the current NFL season, television ratings are down an average 5% compared to the same point last year, and nearly 20% from 2015.
Meanwhile, NFL sponsors are reportedly “nervous” amidst the ratings dip and the ongoing political controversy, and at least one, Papa John’s, has publicly said it will pull back on its NFL advertising.
Of course, Lewis noted that his answer was given in jest and admitted that "he’s not sure how a person would go about shorting the NFL just yet"...
Lewis, an influential thinker on sports leagues and their finances, may be on to something. On the other hand, he added that practically speaking, he’s not sure how a person would go about shorting the NFL just yet.
...but, we have an idea...how about all of the media companies that have sold billions of dollars worth of NFL advertisements and are about to get crushed by 'make goods' when they don't deliver the eyeballs they promised ad agencies?
Yes, we're looking at your ESPN...perhaps the next 'Big Short' has already begun?
Here is the full interview with Lewis: