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Republican Viewers Tuning Out ESPN, Deep Root Says

ESPN’s woes from cord-cutting and weak ad revenue growth are being compounded by the network’s perceived liberal bent, which has Republican viewers changing the channel, according to Deep Root Analytics.

Deep Root, which has worked on election campaigns for Republican candidates, says that after studying aggregate data from 43 U.S. market including New York, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C, it found that the audience became 5% less republican in 2016 than 2015 across those markets.

ESPN’s business issues turned into a political football as commentators alleged that ESPN’s liberal playbook was alienating more conservative viewers by hiring women and minorities as anchors and following stories like quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand during the National Anthem before San Francisco 49ers football games.

Related: Disney Profit Grows Despite Drop at ESPN

Deep Root also found that ESPN2’s audience was 10% less Republican than a year ago.

ESPN News’ Republican viewers plunged by 36% and on ESPNU, the audience became 12% less Republican.