No matter which candidate you support, it’s safe to say that the 2016 presidential election has been absorbing to watch. According to many executives, however, that’s been a bad thing for business. In a recent study conducted by Bloomberg, more than 500 corporations blamed their poor performances on the presidential race or some form of “political uncertainty.”
In fact, even the NFL claims that obsession with the election has led to a drop in viewership. Ratings for Monday Night Football are down a whopping 20 percent while overall game attendance has fallen half a percent. The league is even selling fewer licensed goods than Major League Soccer, an organization with a fraction of the NFL’s fanbase. An internal memo circulated among the league’s owners pointed the finger at “unprecedented interest” in the election for this unanticipated decline.
Then again, the presidential race isn’t the only subject that companies use as a scapegoat for poor performance. In Bloomberg’s survey, respondents also blamed their weak earnings on cold weather, China, and even Kim Kardashian. What this could mean is that executives don’t actually think the election is sapping consumer interest: they’re just using the big news of the day as an excuse for lackluster returns. But like many things involving the current political race, it’s impossible to be certain that this is the case. After today, though, one thing that will be certain is the end of the 2016 election, so on that note get out and vote!
- Do you think the 2016 presidential election genuinely distracted companies across the country or are executives using it as an excuse for poor performances?
- What other factors could be contributing to the NFL’s current decline in viewership?
Source: Drake Baer, “The Election Is So Nuts That 500 Corporations Are Blaming It for Bad Performances,” New York Magazine, November 4, 2016. Photo by Justgrimes.