December 23, 2012


Why Rising Ticket Prices and Technology Lead NFL Fans to Stay Home (Miranda Green, Dec 23, 2012, Daily Beast)

Economists and sports buffs are at odds as to what has caused the shift from the thrill of the stadium to the comfort of a couch or bar. Some say it's the technology that has naturally made television a better story teller for America's new greatest pastime.

"The at-home experience continues to get better. It's really the golden age for fans," says McCarthy. "They are watching games on their 50-inch HD monitors, they have access to ... there is NFL Redzone, where you can watch every single score in real time and you have access to food and other comforts at home."

Others speculate the reason for increased television viewing is that stadiums are failing to captivate audiences and instead focusing their efforts on TV deals. After all, that's where the majority of the money is. Consider for a moment that each team made $102.5 million from the national TV deal last year and that the NFL's revenue from broadcasting is more than double what it made from ticket sales. In other words, smaller numbers of fans and declining sales of beer and popcorn may not put too hurt the bottom line of owners too much.

Nicholas Colas, chief market strategist at technology firm ConvergeEx, says it's the economy that has rendered tickets too expensive for the average Joe. He says a significant factor of lowered NFL attendance is that fans simply can't afford to go to games. "If you take a family of four to a football game and you get the average seat--between the parking and making the day for the kids a good experience [with concession items] you are spending about $600, which is the price to pay for a good TV back home," he said.

One of the curiosities about football that folks seldom give thought to is not just that the Super Bowl ads are more anticipated and discussed and better remembered than the game itself but why this is so.    The game clock still just counts off 60 minutes, but even regular season games last so far over 3 hours that the late kick-offs are at 4:25.  The NFL requires of its viewers a massive investment of time for a minimal amount of action.  Indeed, the attraction of the Redzone for fans is that scoring plays in other games help alleviate the tedium of the one you're watching.  In a very real sense, three and a half hours of advertising are periodically interrupted by a series of downs.  Except that, if you're in attendance at the game, it's three and a half hours of watching guys stand around doing nothing, periodically interrupted by a series of downs.

Posted by at December 23, 2012 7:54 AM

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