NFL sponsors should sever ties over scandals, majority in poll says

Wed Sep 24, 2014 1:38pm EDT
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By Jennifer Saba

NEW YORK (Reuters) - More than half of Americans believe that brands should drop their sponsorship deals with the National Football League over its handling of players accused of domestic violence, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Among those surveyed, 30 percent said that the NFL's largest sponsors should sever their ties permanently with the league, while 24 percent said they should end their sponsorship for this season.

"The only way to hurt the NFL and get its attention is with money," said one poll respondent, Curvin Rohler, a 79-year-old retiree a from Henderson, Nevada.

Still, Rohler is watching pro football games on television. "It hasn't gotten to the point to where I would not watch it," he said.

He is not alone. Nearly 80 percent of respondents in the Reuters/Ipsos poll said they plan to continue watching or attending football games organized by the NFL, which reaps some $9 billion in annual revenue.

"It should not be lost on anybody that America is of two minds when it comes to football in the last month," said Jason Maloni, head of sports and entertainment team at Levick, a strategic communications firm. "They are voting with their hearts."

The poll also revealed a split between women, 58 percent of whom said that sponsors should back out in some way, and men, 49 percent of whom favored such a move.

Overall, in addition to those who thought NFL sponsors should end their agreements with the league, 26 percent said the brands should publicly protest the NFL's actions, but not end their sponsorships, while 20 percent said brands should do nothing.   Continued...

A man stands at a window lit by the NFL logo as he watches performances during the 2012 NFL kickoff show in New York September 5, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson