Over the past week we’ve heard a few references from various NFL officials dropping hints of possible blackouts increasing this year due to ticket sales being down. Given the unemployment rate, the lackluster economy, lack of jobs, and housing crisis, it’s not surprising that people have a little more to worry about these days than getting to a game to buy 8 dollar beers and 10 dollar personal pizzas. My question to the NFL brass is simple….is threatening your fan base the best way to address this situation?
When my previous girlfriend expressed disappointment that we weren’t going out enough and that I needed to make more money in order to keep her around, what do you think my reaction was? What do you think a normal person’s reaction would be? I told her to hit the road. When a small restaurant notices fewer customers on Friday night, do they simply close on Friday night? Do they punish the customers that they do have or do they find a way to attract more business?
Of course my point here is that if the local NFL team refuses to show the game, it will not motivate me in the least to find some money and go to the game. On the contrary, it will simply cause resentment. It will give me a bad taste in my mouth. It will give me a reason to go outside. It will make me find other forms of entertainment. I will look for substitutes for that time slot that football previously occupied. I wont be looking for more money to take that girlfriend shopping….I’ll be looking for a new girlfriend! If its Friday night and Luigis Pizza is closed….I’ll find another restaurant.
Most businesses would look at the situation and find ways to attract people to the games. Not simply make an attempt to force people to go to the games at the same prices. If attendance is down, obviously consumers don’t see the value at the current ticket prices….so create value. You can’t force me to go to a game…it won’t happen. As a matter of fact, you can’t force anything without negative effects.
How about including a tailgate for all fans with free water and soda? How about putting together some meal deals? How about marketing to families? How about a postgame/pregame concert like baseball teams have started doing. How about making it an all day event? If people aren’t buying tickets, it’s because they don’t see the value. So add value…
Haven’t these NFL people been to business school? Are they that arrogant to think they can simply push around their fan base with no negative reactions? Have blackouts ever resulted in increased ticket sales? None of it makes sense to me. I don’t see any positives that can come out of punishing your fan base.
So maybe I’ll be forced to find a substitute. Maybe I’ll have a new time slot on Sundays for some bowling. Maybe I’ll be a baseball fan for the whole season. Maybe I’ll simply follow other NFL teams, and buy their gear because they know how to attract more fans. Whatever happens, I won’t be bullied into buying a ticket for the local team. Teams can bully cities into building new stadiums because of the revenue they bring in, but I have 0% gain from the presence of a particular NFL team. So go ahead NFL…try me.