NFL ratings are struggling right now, as President Donald Trump continues to stoke the flames of a red-hot debate over national anthem protests, while the actual on-field product has also left something to be desired.
But fear not, football fans — JPMorgan knows how you can make a pretty penny off the league’s woes.
It involves making a short-term bet that shares of CBS will drop. The most-watched US television network and home to multiple games a week, CBS serves as a bellwether of sorts for NFL viewership.
JPMorgan specifically recommends purchasing weekly put contracts that will start making money if CBS shares decline roughly 1% to $US57.50 by expiration on October 6.
While it’s still too early to know if Trump’s inflammatory comments and the defiant league-wide response will have a material impact on ratings, this week’s upcoming slate of games could provide a much better idea. As such, JPMorgan figures it can’t hurt to be prepared in the event of a major downswing.
“Any potential NFL boycott is more likely to be determined in this weekend’s results,” Shawn Quigg, an equity derivatives strategist at JPMorgan, wrote in a client note. “Investors likely could cite the anthem debate for any weak viewership results, adding to existing viewership concerns. Thus, the greater reward-risk appears skewed to the downside in the near-term as weaker results may mobilize investors to take the potential impact more seriously.”
For an example of how quickly NFL dynamics have shifted since protests have gotten more widespread, JPMorgan cites the spike in jersey sales for Pittsburgh Steeler offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva. He was the only Steeler on the field for the national anthem this past Sunday, and the firm says that may suggest fans favour it when players stand for the anthem.
While that’s certainly a lot to extrapolate from one instance, making JPMorgan’s suggested options wager could pay off even if ratings decline for other reasons. After all, even before the number of protests grew this past week, there were already worries that declining viewership could hamper future profitability for NFL TV partners.
CBS shares rose 0.6% to $US58.35 at 2:29 pm EST.