With less than two weeks until the Super Bowl, the National Football League’s consumer perception is about half of what it was one year ago.
For this research, YouGov BrandIndex measured the NFL – along with the other three major sports leagues – with its Buzz score, which asks respondents: "If you've heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, through advertising, news or word of mouth, was it positive or negative?"
A score can range from 100 to -100 with a zero score equaling a neutral position. Example: A score of 35 means that 35% more people said they were positive than negative about the brand. All measurements are for adults 18 and over.
At the same time last year, the NFL’s Buzz score was 21, compared to right now, when it is a 12. The NFL retained its Buzz score of 21 right after the Super Bowl last year, before settling into an off season range in the high single digits.
The good news for the NFL is that Buzz has been on a steady increase since mid-December, as the regular season was wrapping up and the playoff match ups were being finalized.
However, it was not until the middle of last week when the NFL’s Buzz score inched by the other three major professional sports leagues. With a 12 Buzz score, the NFL is just five points ahead of the fourth place National Basketball Association, and a few points ahead of the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, the latter of which has not even begun their spring training season yet. Two weeks prior to last year’s Super Bowl, the NFL’s Buzz score was more than two times the scores of the other major sports leagues.
The NFL may still be feeling lingering effects from the Ray Rice/Adrian Peterson/Roger Goodell controversy this past fall, which raised the ire of many and brought the league to a -40 Buzz score in early October. However, that has not prevented the league from posting television viewing records during this year’s playoffs.
The current “Deflategate” situation stemming from the Patriots/Packers game this past Sunday is barely reflected in this data at the time we took this measurement.