Are Millennials Losing Interest in the NFL?

This article and infographic is a guest contribution of writer Tami Cruz

The NFL was once a giant in the eyes of most Americans, but that is slowly changing. A new generation is set to take over the United States – Millennials – and they are not nearly as interested in American football as their generational predecessors.

One might imagine that this spells trouble for the organization, but it is opportunity for growth and change.

Why are Millennials Not interested in Football?

There is no clear reason why a large number of Millennials are not tuning in to football as previous generations did. Some say it has to do with trust issues that many in this group have toward the NFL in general. Sixty one percent of this group thinks the NFL is a sleazy organization.

This could be due to the possibility of many NFL officials covering up head traumas that can lead to disorders later on in life.

Survey: 61% of Millennials think the NFL is a sleazy organization #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Another thing to look at is that some Millennials are beginning to consider competitive sports irrational. Some see competitive sports as an activity that seeks to demean those with less talent.

What Can be Done?

There are many aspects of the NFL that need to be addressed in order to solve this issue. For one, it is imperative that the NFL tries to be as transparent as possible. Millennials respond well to corporate social responsibility and transparency.

Catering to this group also involves upgrading stadiums and the way that the sport is watched. Some stadiums are integrating full and free Wi-Fi in their establishments. This gives Millennials the opportunity to follow the game live and update social media accounts live as well.

Are Millennials Losing Interest in the NFL? #sportsbiz Click To Tweet

Active campaign managers should shine a light on the competitive nature of the sport. It might be time to show the human side of every sports person. Perhaps, the organization should communicate that the NFL supports its active players but also retired players as well.

Of course, these are just a few examples of what the organization can do to help its image. This does mean that the NFL is now looking for new ideas to solve the millennial problem. There is much more to explore, and it will need to happen soon since the millennial generation will be in power for a very long time. This sports organization can use this opportunity to evolve and show Millennials that it is on their side for the long haul.

Ohio University Online

About Brian Clapp

Brian Clapp has worked in the sports media for over 14 years as a writer, editor, producer & news director. After beginning his career in Atlanta at CNN/Sports Illustrated, he switched coasts to Seattle to work at Fox Sports Northwest. In 2010, Brian began pursuing a new found passion on the digital media side, launching a successful website and then taking on the role of Director of Content for &

Recently, Brian has become addicted to Google+ and LinkedIn so add him to your circles and make him a contact. No seriously, do it.

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  1. Eddie Jackson says:


    • I hope your all caps response isn’t intended to yell at me Eddie – I am not your enemy! While I agree with your point, not sure it’s related to why millenials (15-35 year olds) aren’t as interested in the NFL

  2. The NFL is losing viewers because it is no longer a contact sport. Football use to be a fight. Now touching another player in the helmet is a penalty. All this no head to head is turning it into basketball. Receivers can just go up over the middle without fear of what a linebacker or safety might do. We lost the barbarity that made this game beautiful. Quit pampering Qb’s and Recievers. Quit getting rid of kickoffs. Go back to the fight. It was Americas Coliseum. Make it that again.

  3. Glenn Cantor says:

    Millennials are not losing interest in the NFL. Rather, they are interacting with the NFL in ways that are not easily analyzed by traditional media measurement tools. For example, many of my friends view fantasty league results, without actually watching the games. Additional difficult-to-measure interactions include group watching (bars, restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wings), online or mobile viewing, and the oft hush-hushed gambling. The product content is still great.

    • Not sure I agree – bar watching and scraping in for fantasy results have always been there — we’re seeing a different shift than before and it’s interesting to note.

  4. There was a time when circuses and zoos were cool because they were novel. Where else can you see a sea lion? Oh, and this one knows how to balance a beach ball? Awesome! Many people watched the moon landing for the same reason, but the space race is over and NASA is not a thing anymore.The novelty wears off. Via the Internet, we can visit other places and interact with other people from around the globe. We can see people doing amazing and stupid things. Our world shrinks. One day we realize that only the US plays in the “World” Series and that the Cavaliers aren’t really “world” champions because Romania and Peru never got a chance to play. We discover that “America” is actually a continent and that “football” is a totally different sport to the rest of the world. We begin to see organized sports as a business – not as an extension of our collective identity. Hank Aaron, Joe Montana and Dr. J have left the building. Yes, the novelty wears off.

    • nice rant…even if it isn’t all that accurate. 113 of the 450 players on NBA roster are international, and there is no limit on the number of players from Peru and Romania that can play in the NBA if they had the talent to do so. It is the worlds best league and the worlds best players come to compete there. Same for baseball 243 of the 856 athletes on the roster of major league teams were from somewhere other than the US. Again, the best league in the world, the best players. Win the World Series, FACT you have the best team in the world. Yes our world shrinks and we realize there are other things out there, but you lost me on your “they aren’t really world champions” argument. And if that is your argument, it would still hold under Hank Aaron, Joe Montana and Dr. J…sounds like you are just being nostalgic here. – Brian


  1. […] This article and infographic is a guest contribution of writer Tami Cruz The NFL was once a giant in the eyes of most Americans, but that is slowly changing. A new generation is set to take over the United States – Millennials – and they are not nearly as interested in American football as their […] – Sports Career Blog […]

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