Watchdog Blog

Barry Sussman: A Fan’s Solution to the NFL Lockout

Posted at 5:36 pm, April 24th, 2011
Barry Sussman Mug

I’ve got a solution to a main issue in the National Football League lockout. It’s a simple idea but the owners and players could struggle for ten years and hire some of the highest priced legal talent around, as they’ve done, and never come up with it.

At issue is some $2.4 billion that the owners want to skim off the top before their revenue sharing arrangement with the players kicks in. Right now the poor owners skim only $1 billion. Their plan would reduce players’ income by 18 percent, say from $1 million a year to $820,000.

That’s okay by me but I wouldn’t give all that extra money – $75 million per team – to the greedy little owners. I’d cut the fans in on the action.

Have you been to an NFL game in the last few years? Or watched some on TV? Then you know it’s the fans who need help, not the owners or players. Why the press doesn’t write more about it, I don’t know.

Here’s what I would do:

• Reduce ticket prices. These vary – but for seats in the same time zone as the playing field – the close-in ones, that is – a couple of hundred bucks is a bargain these days. Can we discuss that, David Boies?

• Do something about parking. In some stadiums, like the new Meadowlands, grown men (me) have been known to cry, getting there an hour and a half early, unable to find a space, driving a tenth of a mile an hour in the tail-gate maze.

• Hire exit-traffic help at the end of games. Two hours stuck in a car in the lot at Fed Ex Field, with no bathroom, is spiteful.

• For the folks at home as well as those at the game, cut back on those TV commercials. One rule of thumb: Avoid interfering with the flow of the game.

• Also, cut down on the fear, please. No more worse-than-airport-type frisking – hands over heads – as you enter. (They really do that!) Looking for weapons? No, just Oreos, or a beer, I guess. Safety reasons, they say. Yeah, sure; maybe in Philadelphia. But it’s just one more little revenue enhancer for the owners and players, one more insult to the fans.

I know, I know. If I don’t want to go the games or watch them on TV, I don’t have to. No one’s making me. These gripes are picayune. Some people, the serious season ticket holders or those who invest thousands simply to be able to buy tickets, may have real problems. The fact is, I don’t go very often. But I might if it were a little more pleasant. I love the game. Go, Giants.

2 Responses to “A Fan’s Solution to the NFL Lockout”

  1. Brad Collins says:

    The fans — and the rest of the economy — should benefit from reduced costs on the part of players and team members. Most people think the NFL has all this money from ticket sales…and jerseys. The real income for the NFL, however, like all major sports, comes from the hidden tax we pay as consumers for the products advertised on TV.
    Wikipedia explains the extent:
    “The television rights to broadcast National Football League (NFL) games are the most lucrative and expensive rights of any American sport…. Currently, the American terrestrial television networks CBS ($3.73B), NBC ($3.6B) and Fox ($4.27B) – as well as cable television’s ESPN ($8.8B) – are paying a combined total of $20.4 billion[1] to broadcast NFL games through the 2011 season for CBS, Fox, and NBC and through 2013 for ESPN.”
    Fans have a choice to go or not spend $100 for a stadium seat. Non-fan consumers don’t have the option of not paying for NFL games by not paying the full price of their beer, cars, shaving cream, etc. That’s why TV can keep asking more from advertisers, driving up the costs of those products, and why the NFL has this windfall to spend rather capriciously. Think: if the teams are getting billions, why are taxpayers buying them new stadiums?
    In economic terms, the invisible hand of free market forces is unfortunately invisible to consumers. We all need a break.

  2. NFLJERSEYS says:

    That’s why TV can keep asking more from advertisers, driving up the costs of those products, and why the NFL has this windfall to spend rather capriciously.

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