The effort to make ESPN not seem like a left-wing media establishment continues, apparently.
At a time when constant (and largely inaccurate) criticism has been registered against ESPN for having a liberal agenda, ESPN has decided to summarize a new poll in a way the definitely isn’t left of center.
Here’s the second paragraph of the article from in-house ESPN sports money man Darren Rovell regarding a recent poll from J.D. Power: “The pollster said it asked more than 9,200 people who attended either one football, basketball or hockey game whether they tuned into fewer games and why. Twenty-six percent of those who watched fewer games last season said that national anthem protests, some of which were led by Colin Kaepernick, were the reason.”
Here’s the far more significant seventh paragraph: “J.D. Power noted that only 12 percent of the fans it surveyed said they watched fewer NFL games last season, with 27 percent of people saying they watched more and 62 percent saying they watched just as much as they had the season before.”
So the more accurate characterization is that 26 percent of 12 percent watched fewer football games in 2016 due to national anthem protests. Or, in other words, 3.12 percent of the 9,200 people who “attended either one football, basketball or hockey game” (an oddly specific parameter) watched fewer football games on TV last year.
There’s another important factor that Rovell’s analysis completely ignored: Market.
As noted by SBNation.com, 22 percent of fans in Chicago watched less football in 2016. Only six percent watched less football last year in Boston.
And that’s where the poll, and the interpretation of it, become worthless. It appears that there wasn’t a “my team stunk last year” option for explaining the lack of interest.
Indeed, it appears that the options were pre-determined and provided in a multiple-choice format. So if “my team stunk last year” wasn’t one of the pre-selected choices, the influence of, for example, the Bears being 3-13 wouldn’t be reflected at all by the 22 percent of Chicagoans who watched less football in 2016.
But, hey, ESPN at least has something else to point to the next time someone from FOX shouts “liberal bias!”