The League

Doug Farrar
Writer

Doug Farrar

A FootballOutsiders.com staff writer

Fans Don't Count

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It's tough to label anything as truly recession-proof, especially these days, but the NFL comes as close as anything. In 2007, the league set an attendance record for the fifth straight year, and while I don't have the 2008 figures at hand, I do know that Super Bowl XLIII was the most-watched in history, and that 39 million people watched the 2009 NFL draft. That outdid Red Sox-Yankees and NBA playoff games over the same weekend. After playing chicken with the NFL Network, Comcast is now trying to work things out. Think that may have had something to with the idea that Comcast subscribers were thinking that the Dish wasn't such a bad idea? I know this one was.

The NFL operates under the rule of supply and demand, and I doubt there will be an attendance slip to the point that the Commissioner and the owners have to take a serious look at reducing ticket prices. Lower prices would be good for fans, but not for the league, teams, and players. Those three entities have more actual power than the fans, and those entities will benefit first and foremost. Unless there's a serious financial pinch, I can't see the NFL unilaterally lowering prices.

By Doug Farrar  |  May 1, 2009; 11:16 AM ET  | Category:  Doug Farrar , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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He could have just shortened this to "NFL owners are selfish pigs who care little for the fans."

Posted by: postfan1 | May 4, 2009 8:20 AM

What are you people talking about? The owner does not "think about the fans." What does that mean? As Farrar points out, the NFL owners work on supply and demand. Yes, they are running a business. Football is a sport for the fan, but it is a business for the owner. How else do you expect it to be run?
As for "good for the fan," one has to ask how many fans we are talking about. The NFL season includes only 8 home games. As Farrar points out, most of the tickets sold are season tickets. Given this, how many fans get to go to a game at any ticket price? Don't the vast majority of fans watch all the games on television? This is not like baseball, which has 81 home game and sells 2-3 million tickets a year. It is easy in almost any major league city (except Boston) to buy a ticket on the day of a game, but not in the NFL. So the NFL teams need to attract a relatively few well-off football fans to fill their stadiums and make the rest of their money from TV revenues. This only makes sense.
It always amazes me that Americans praise the free enterprise system to heaven until it produces results they don't like, then they expect businessmen to behave like they are running public service institutions.

Posted by: FrankinHouston | May 4, 2009 8:48 AM

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