Confessions of a Millennial Guy: Why Football is Losing Fans Like Me

Today, we’re continuing our Confessions of a Millennial Guy series with a post from an anonymous Millennial male giving us a glimpse at the changing attitudes towards professional sports, and why some Millennials are losing faith in the NFL and starting to migrate towards soccer as their preferred sports entertainment. 


 A curious feeling arises when a friend texts me mid-football Sunday and makes some remark about “the game”—almost a feeling of bored embarrassment. I don’t have the heart to tell my friend, I really don’t care about the NFL anymore. Like falling out of love, it is hard, but it is happening to many of my friends, for a myriad of reasons.

The predictions of the National Football League’s demise due to the growing and deepening issues surrounding the risk of concussion related injuries have been well-documented. In-depth reports have highlighted the NFL’s complicit role in allowing these risks to be ignored or even covered up, as well as showing the personal impacts of CTE related deaths and mental illness. In the wake of all this, for myself and many like me the NFL has started to resemble the political system that so many of us distrust: continually insisting they have the interests of the people in mind while clearly manipulating our passion for their own financial benefit. For the last few years, the NFL has been evolving and instituting rule changes that are manipulative and only have the bottom line in mind, trying to make us believe they have the players’ and fans’ greater interest at heart when they are in fact only restructuring the game to make more money. Rule changes like the kickoff rule change—changing the kickoffs so there are fewer violent hits—use our desire to protect players from damaging concussions and destroyed knees as a reason to make…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“Art is basically my job and I enjoy it so much.”—Female, 15, MD

Snap is making its “biggest move” in scripted original content, teaming up with NBCUniversal and the Duplass brothers for their next series. The Duplass-owned creative studio Donut will produce original series for Snap shot in vertical video. NBCU and Snap will also be opening a joint digital content studio focused completely on mobile-first entertainment, “formaliz[ing] their partnership” and putting Snap firmly in the producing/original content creation camp. Snap’s mobile-only approach is part of a movement to shake up how we view videos—in fact, they’re calling their offering “a fundamentally new medium.” (THRTechCrunch)

Eggo frozen waffles are capitalizing on their unexpected Stranger Things’ fame. The brand has seized the marketing opportunity of being a part of one of Millennials & Gen Z’s favorite shows, tying themselves into Netflix’s Super Bowl ad, creating a special toaster for select fans, and swarming New York Comic Con with people dressed up like Eleven armed with “watch party kits” (aka “waffles and a microwavable syrup server”). To prep for the premiere of season two of the show, Eggo is sending out a fully-loaded food truck for the red carpet premiere, and going all out on social media to connect with fans. (MediaPost)

More teens than ever have severe anxiety, but why? The American College Health Association found a 12% increase in undergrads reporting “overwhelming anxiety” from 2011 to 2016, and several studies concur that “there’s just been a steady increase of severely anxious students.” Social media is part of the problem—constant like-monitoring and cyber bullying isn’t helping the most stressed generation to date. There’s also an increasing (and constant) perceived need to over-achieve. One psychology professor observes, “There’s always one more activity, one more A.P. class, one more thing to do in order to get into a top college.” (NYTimes)

Ypulse research has shown that 88% of Millennial parents are trying to avoid helicopter parenting—but they might not be able to help it. The constant media storm of global atrocities and everyday stories of parenting gone wrong combined with advertisers’ willingness to fear-monger, results in a generation of (understandably) anxious parents. It doesn’t help that the tech to constantly monitor kids is easily available (albeit pricey)—from drone surveillance meant for the military to devices that track “blood-oxygen levels all night long.” One relationship therapist sums up, “Everyone is having a hard time drawing a line and just figuring out what’s reasonable versus what’s over-protective.” (Refinery29)

Brands are turning college students into mini-sales forces. Aerie, Victoria’s Secret Pink, and Express are just a few of the many brands that have a program for college campus reps where students receive swag, experience, and other perks for helping bring brand awareness to their colleges. Though brands don’t always require social posts, most ambassadors do share their swag on social, bringing organic ads to their friends’ feeds. The biggest draw is that social posts from reps “[come] across as natural, authentic, a product that they would normally use or want to talk about.” (Racked)

“[Celebrity] can mean anything nowadays and it's a rather diluted term; from YouTube star, to someone on Instagram with millions of followers, to reality TV dopes, etc.”—Male, 30, WI

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