26% of people watched fewer NFL games because of Colin Kaepernick?!?! Or is it 3%?

This is an interesting case of how numbers get reported and what they mean. Often the numbers that get reported reflect a desire to grab people’s attentions or simply to tell the story the media outlet wants to tell. If you report 26% or 3% neither one is necessarily lying though the two numbers are referring to two different things. (Here is a link to an earlier post about how an Illinois tax increase was reported)

12% of respondents to a recent survey said they watched fewer NFL games and of those 26% said that the main reason was Colin Kaepernick’s protest during the national anthem. How should that get reported? And what impression gets left in people’s minds based on the wording?

Another way to think about it is this: 12% of the 26% who watched fewer games comes out to about 3% of the total number of people who watched football. Hmm. That leaves a very different impression than 26%.

Here is the original, misleading ESPN article whose headline has since changed I believe.

http://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/20171611/national-anthem-protests-no-1-reason-viewers-tuned-nfl-games

“National anthem protests were the top reason that NFL fans watched fewer games last season, according to a new survey released by J.D. Power.

“The pollster said it asked more than 9,200 people who attended either one football, basketball or hockey game whether they tuned into fewer games and why. Twenty-six percent of those who watched fewer games last season said that national anthem protests, some of which were led by Colin Kaepernick, were the reason.”

And here is a link to a Huffington Post article discussing the issue with how the numbers are reported:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/colin-kaepernick-sports-ratings_us_597a2382e4b02a4ebb73e064

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