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

“As a graphic designer, without the arts being available to me in school I would have been lost as a child and where to take my career path. The fact that schools are cutting art programs is heartbreaking.”—Female, 24, NJ

Applebee’s is putting down the sriracha and giving up on trying to appeal to Millennials. The brand has decided their newer menu items—like a “triple pork bonanza” sandwich—and attempt at a “modern bar and grill” reinvention has “alienate[d]” Boomers and Gen Xers. They’re shutting down more than 130 restaurants and bringing back initiatives from before their attempted “pendulum swing towards millennials,” all-you-can-eat specials and 2-for-$20 deals. Other brands are creating new spin off chains to appeal to fast-casual lovingMillennials, that “[lack] the associated baggage of the old.” (Inc, NPR)

Adults-only ball pits, bouncy houses, and giant slides are sweeping the U.K. Millennials seeking a break from adulthood are flocking to places like Wacky World’s “massive bouncy-castle obstacle course,” which started out as a children’s event. The founder received so many requests that now every event has an 18-and-over slot, and has expanded to 19 cities. This “trend for arrested development activities” is caused by nostalgia, but the influx of marketing and branding leveraging the emotion could be popularizing these playgrounds for adults. (The Guardian)

Facebook is responding to the trend of asking for birthday charitable donations by integrating it right into the platform. Users in the U.S. can now trade in all the “HBD”s they get on Facebook for donations to the cause of their choice: well-wishers will be notified of the birthday along with the selected non-profit, and get the chance to donate. Facebook will ask users which charity they wish to dedicate their day to two weeks in advance, allowing them to choose from 750,000 organizations. (TNW)

Appear Here is the Airbnb of pop-up shops, giving brands their perfect temporary store for the new era of retail. The company finds short term retail space, and has worked with big-name brands like Nike and Net-a-Porter to open “experimental activations” or “test new products.” As brick-and-mortar continues to suffer and long-term stores close, Appear Here says physical retail is still needed, but to “tell a story.” The pop-up industry was valued at $50 billion in 2015, and provides a more low-risk, flexible option to avoid the retail wasteland. (Glossy)

Millennials & Gen Z are turning a profit online and on mobile by re-selling their retail. Thredup, Poshmark, and Depop are just a few of the most popular brands cashing in on the resale economy’s $18 billion market, and some shoppers say they are making $300 a week on the platforms. Some are also using social to sell, often in conjunction with apps or sites, including Snapchat, Facebook Groups, and Instagram. College students on a budget are reportedly especially drawn to resale, thanks to convenience, value, and access to luxury at a lower price. (FN)

“Adult means being entirely independent. I pay my own bills, make all decisions in my life, and feel very in control.”—Male, 20, NY

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