Sites report lower NFL ticket sales amid anthem protest controversy
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A pair of U.S. ticket sites say that sales for National Football League games have taken a plunge this week amid controversy over athletes and teams protesting the national anthem at games.

Sales declined by 17.9 percent this week on TickPick, an online ticketing service, compared to last week, CBS News reports. Meanwhile, the site TicketCity has reported a 31 percent drop in sales.

TickPick CEO Brett Goldberg suggested that people have been turning away from football as a form of entertainment because of its involvement in politics. 

"There are people who are saying that this is my form of entertainment and I don't want politics in my entertainment," Goldberg told CBS, adding that he didn't personally share that view.


However, the vice president of sales for TicketCity told CBS that outdated methods for marketing and pricing the tickets "drove away the fans slowly."

TickPick said in a statement reported by Townhall that they "can't specify if this decrease is due to the president's comments, player and owner protests, play on the field."

The company said that a continued decline in ticket sales could result from NFL viewers who "continue to change their NFL Sunday habits."

Ticketmaster, the operator of the NFL's official ticket exchange, declined to release sales information without the league's permission, CBS reported.

Meanwhile, an executive for TicketCity said that ticketing rival StubHub's decision to offer a 10 percent discount on its website for NFL, NBA and NHL tickets this season is a rare move.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE stirred controversy last week when he suggested that NFL players who kneel during the national anthem were disrespecting the American flag and should be fired.

The protests began last year with then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick kneeling during the anthem to draw attention to the treatment of people of color in America.

More than 200 players responded to Trump's comments about the protest by sitting or kneeling during the anthem at games last weekend.

A recent poll found that 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the protests, while 48 percent disagreed with the president's fiery comments against the athletes who participated in them.

Updated: 2:57 p.m.