On a recent national telecast, Commissioner Roger Goodell mentioned in an interview that television might be hurting the NFL’s live gate and that was an area of concern for the league regarding the future of the game. (This came during a nighttime telecast, but I did not write down the date or the game so I cannot give a full context here.) The reason I found his remarks interesting is that I have been preaching for years that NFL games on TV are significantly more enjoyable than NFL games at the stadium. Moreover, watching NFL games on TV is a whole lot cheaper than watching NFL games at the stadium.
Since I am in a helpful mood this morning, let me try to explain the situation to Commissioner Goodell and he can use a mnemonic to remember the factors here by remembering the letter “C”. The first factor is Cost:
Game tix to NFL games have become very expensive. Getting a really good seat – one that might allow a view of the game comparable to the camera shots provided by the networks – in most NFL stadiums will cost upwards of $100 a seat. Not a lot of folks opt to go to NFL games alone so the minimum cash outlay for decent seats is $200 and it could be as high as $400.
Oh, I forgot to mention that in some cities, I would have to buy a Personal Seat License costing tens of thousands of dollars just for the privilege of buying that $100 – 200 ticket to get a seat at the game.
Parking can cost $35 – 50. One has to wonder what kind of upkeep expenses there must be to justify that kind of fee for parking on a tarmac surface…
Purchasing food or drink in the stadium is a stunning event. There is a good reason why stadiums have dozens of ATMs in them; one can easily go through a bankroll at the concession stands.
The next factor is Convenience:
Before and after one pays that $35-50 fee to park one’s car, there is traffic – and for most stadiums, there is a lot of traffic. A friend who used to have season tix to the Redskins bought one of those small TVs that he could run off his car battery/alternator and he would sit in the parking lot to watch the first half of the late afternoon game before he even thought about trying to drive home. There are probably some stadiums with viable public transit options for fans but that is not the case for all of them.
It is commonplace to wait in line to go to the bathroom in the stadium; I do not know about your home, but that just does not happen in my home.
The last factor is Comfort:
On a bright and sunny Fall afternoon, watching football at the stadium is a joy. Mother Nature does not always offer such weather. My living room has a far more predictable – and comfortable – “climate”.
Friends with whom I watch a game in my home – or in their home – are not going to get belligerently drunk. Oh, by the way, those same belligerently drunk fans are the ones getting behind the wheel in all those cars in those parking lots that empty out into the traffic jams around the stadiums…
To put the icing on the cake for some families that might want to take kids to see games, they face the uncertainty of “flex-scheduling”. That is done at the behest of the networks so they can have “the best games” on the air. Fine; I have no quarrel with that – - but Mr. Commissioner, taking a game that was supposed to be on a Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM and moving it to Sunday night at 8:30 PM changes the dynamic if a kid has to be in school the next day. It could be 1:00AM Monday morning before the kid gets to bed…
Some of these things can be fixed; others cannot. If you and the owners want to fix some of them, the task is at hand. However, without making some changes that will reduce the flow in some of the revenue streams, the “TV experience” will continue to get better; and as you recognize, it already enjoys a lot advantages over the “stadium experience”.
The Sporting News did a poll of NFL players and named the Jets’ Rex Ryan as the most over-rated coach in the NFL. That completes a trifecta for Ryan. Until the results of that poll hit the streets, he had to settle for being the most self-aggrandizing coach in the league and the most self-delusional coach in the league.
Last week, the Los Angeles Lakers began the season by losing four of their first five games. Ownership felt compelled – after 5 games – to give coach Mike Brown a vote of confidence. Then in what was only a tad longer than the blink of an eye, the Lakers fired Mike Brown. [Actually, it was about 48 hours…] They hired Mike D’Antoni to replace Brown, which means that the Lakers will score a lot more points this year than they did last year – and they will give up a lot more points too. It should not take Lakers’ fans too long to recognize that D’Antoni thinks “defense” is a four-letter word.
The NY Mets parted company with Jason Bay who never quite lived up to the expectations that the team or the fans had for him. Bay is good player but his contract was one that should only attach to a great player. In 2013, Bay will receive $21M from the NY Mets not to play baseball for them. Do not resent the fact that he had such a contract; shake your head in amazement at the fact that the Mets thought that he would be worth that kind of money in the first place.
Finally, here is an item from Brad Rock in the Deseret News:
“If things go as hoped for Utah State, the Aggies will represent the WAC in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl next month.
“The bowl officially and prominently bills itself as ‘the nation’s longest-running outdoor cold-weather bowl.’
“Isn’t that like selling oneself as the nation’s No. 1 maker of zero-gravity leisure wear?”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………