So far this season, NFL viewership is down by a whopping 12 percent. And while there are any number of reasons why the sport is taking such a big hit—a number of highly viewed presidential debates, the retirement of a slew of star players, and the proliferation of social media—the slumping ratings are affecting more executives than just Roger Goodell.
According to a report from Marketplace, sports bars like Buffalo Wild Wings, and fast-food chains like Papa John’s, rely on the NFL for roughly 10 percent of their foot traffic. And while Sunday Night Football still draws 22 million viewers—accounting for the highest ratings on television—the decline could be felt more intensely in the restaurant and bar business.
“For the third quarter, their sales are down almost 2 percent from where they were a year ago,” Stephen Anderson, a restaurant analyst at the Maxim Group, told Marketplace, adding that restaurant chains like Buffalo Wild Wings may look to different teams and sports to help drive traffic if the situation doesn’t approve.
B-dubs’ management has apparently made so many unforced errors over the years that one of the company’s new investors penned a scathing letter in August, calling out the brand’s declining food quality and lack of strategy.
"The chronic absence of detail around even the most basic of metrics causes us to question whether the right questions are being asked and answered,” Mick McGuire, the founder and CEO of Marcato, wrote. Carryout, especially, is "inconsistent with the 'core consumer' at Buffalo Wild Wings: a social live-sports viewer," he said.