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Why The NFL's TV Ratings Are Up & A Unicorn Footwear Startup

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains discusses why the NFL’s television ratings have jumped more than a quarter of the way through the season. The episode then shifts to Allbirds, the Silicon Valley footwear startup that just hit unicorn status as it prepares to take on the likes of Nike (NKE - Free Report) and Lululemon (LULU - Free Report) .

The National Football League’s TV ratings are up for the first time since 2015, according to Nielsen. The NFL’s ratings are not up across the board, but CBS’ viewership numbers have jumped, while Fox’s (FOXA - Free Report) and NBC’s (CMCSA - Free Report) prime-time games continue to dominate linear TV. It is unclear exactly why the NFL’s ratings are up, but there are plenty of speculative reasons that are out of the league’s control for the most part.

It is also worth noting that the NFL’s digital consumption is up big compared to last year. This jump highlights Amazon’s (AMZN - Free Report) Thursday Night Football performance, among other initiatives. Looking ahead, the NFL could see a much larger stream of revenue pour in as tech companies, such as Facebook (FB - Free Report) continue to try to push into live streaming.

Plus, Microsoft (MSFT - Free Report) , Pizza Hut (YUM - Free Report) , Anheuser-Busch InBev (BUD - Free Report) , and other major NFL sponsors are likely extremely pleased by the ratings resurgence. With that said, ESPN’s (DIS - Free Report) Monday Night Football continues to struggle for a variety of reasons.

The episode then shifts to one of the newest Silicon Valley unicorns: Allbirds. The trendy footwear startup just recently saw its valuation hit $1.4 billion based on some recent investments. This valuation reportedly more than tripled last year’s figure for the maker of simple looking wool shoes sold at a $95 price point. 

Allbirds has only been in business for a few years and has almost no brick-and-mortar presence. Yet, the company has expanded through social media marketing, word of mouth, and partnerships with the likes of Nordstrom (JWN - Free Report) and Lululemon rival Outdoor Voices.

Looking ahead, the firm’s sustainability and comfort focus should help it compete for market share against Under Armour UAA Nike, Adidas ADDYY, and others.

As a reminder, if you feel that we missed something, or if you have any topic suggestions, shoot us an email at Make sure to check out all of our other audio content at, and remember to subscribe and leave us a rating on Apple Podcasts.

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