As the NFL copes with a ratings slump and ESPN slashes $80 million in salaries after losing 15,000 subscribers a day in October, another major issue facing the league continued to play out in week 15 - terrible attendance.
Ravens vs. Browns, Start 2nd Qtr
While many blame the kneeing epidemic of unpatriotic players refusing to stand for the National Anthem - which started in the summer 2016 pre-season by former San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick, others point to a boring season, cord cutters and broke millennials staying home.
Either way, it's ugly. Since most NFL attendance figures are based on "tickets distributed" as opposed to actual turnstile count, and most NFL ticket sales are to season-ticket holders, it's nearly impossible to tell how many people are simply choosing not to attend games for which they've already bought tickets. Except, pictures don't lie...
MetLife Stadium was a ghost town at the end of the first quarter, and "1/2 full" as the Philadelphia Eagles and NY Giants headed into the 4th quarter:
The Arizona Cardinals vs. Washington Redskins at FedEx Field was ROUGH:
SRO not necessarily packed but I dunno pic.twitter.com/KbJFbDuYrK— Dan Steinberg (@dcsportsbog) December 17, 2017
San Francisco 49ers vs. Tennessee Titans at Levi Stadium:
30 minutes before kickoff:
15 minutes after kickoff - NBC Bay Area web producer Sara Bueno tweeted "Most fans I've seen at a #49ers game in a very very long time"
The Ravens vs. Browns game was also a hot mess of empty seats:
Plenty of empty seats in Cleveland today. pic.twitter.com/WiaS5hd0Im— Sean Grogan (@Sean_CecilWhig) December 17, 2017
Beginning of the second quarter
Beginning of the second half. Traffic to the stadium must’ve been bad today. pic.twitter.com/7h4O1Fz5nr— McNeil (@Reflog_18) December 17, 2017
LOOK: Browns stadium pretty much empty for game against Ravens https://t.co/nn3KlUzlM4 #BaltimoreRavens #ClevelandBrowns At some point, even diehard fans will give up hope and look to do something else with their Sundays.— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) December 17, 2017
It appears that fans of the long... pic.twitter.com/iwGngAzUv5
The Green Bay Packers vs. Carolina Panthers at Bank of America Stadium was cricket-city:
Now imagine how attendance would be if the country was covered in snow!?