Peak NFL? Revisited

Richard Hershberger

Richard Hershberger is a paralegal working in Maryland. When he isn't doing whatever it is that paralegals do, or taking his daughters to Girl Scouts, he is dedicated to the collection and analysis of useless and unremunerative information.

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105 Responses

  1. Doctor Jay says:

    Is there maybe something about football that makes it no longer fit all that well with our culture and lives? Is it something more than we can’t be bothered to attend live events, we just want to catch it on Netflix later?

    I have no answers.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I don’t think so. Look at LGM, they are clearly to the left of many Americans. They will criticize the NFL a lot. They are likely to take the concussion stories seriously but they still are major sports fans and their criticisms seem to come from a place of love and loving to watch football.

      But I think the rise of soccer is partially because many parents don’t want their young children to get concussions and head injuries.

      Though movies are clearly suffering because of Netflix and cable. There are a lot of people who see going to the movies as a waste of time and hassle and they just will wait until it is available for streaming and watch on their HD TVs from the comfort of their own home.

      What’s interesting is that this seems to be a death spiral. One of my biggest pet peeves about movies is how they bombard you with ads these days and endless previews. Sundance used to charge a slightly higher price but be very silent before the movie. The ads were stills on the screen for local businesses. But then they sold to AMC and now it is all the loud stuff. I complained about this once on facebook and Hanley chimed in with the “but AMC is making more money defense.”

      This seems to be the problem. People dislike the ads, so they stay home, and then the chains just increase the ads.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        It is trivially easy to find sites with a leftward lean that are also into sports, sometimes specifically so, including the NFL. I don’t know where anybody ever got the idea that being a sports fan is a peculiarly righty thing. OK, I’ve give you NASCAR. But other than that…

        I think it is too early to tie soccer to concussions. The rise of soccer, to the extent that it is a thing (and it certainly is a thing, but to what extent is not entirely clear) is a longer trend than concern about concussions. But I see some anecdotal evidence that youth football is being affected. If this is real, it cannot help but have long term repercussions.

        I almost never go to the movies anymore. It is not a cheap night out, even just to get in the door. Then the experience is not that great. The seats aren’t really all that comfortable, the volume is likely to be far too loud, and yes, those damned ads. If I went more often I would have it timed when to actually show up versus the posted time, but since I can go for two years at a spell without setting foot inside, I don’t know how late to get there. And on top of this is the knowledge that I will be able to stream the film in a year or two. All in all, I need to be very motivated. I seriously considered going to see Dunkirk, but never did.

        On a related note, I used to read thought pieces from cinemaphiles about the collective experience of seeing a film in the theater and how much this added. I haven’t seen this piece is a while. Have they thrown in the towel?Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          There have always been left-wing sports fans. My college roommate had a grandfather who wrote about sports for the Daily Worker. I wonder if some sports teams were always known for having left-wing fans and others were known for having right-wing fans. This seems to be a thing in soccer abroad.

          There are movie theatres like Alamo Drafthouse and Landmark and others that are making going to the movies more pleasant and adult-like including serving beer and better food but this just raises the price of tickets. It is a price I am willing to pay.

          I personally do think there is something about the collective experience of watching a movie or performance but I might be a minority on this one.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Saul Degraw says:

            Yep. I’ve stopped going to theaters that don’t serve food. (And preferably beer.). It’s honestly not that much more expensive, given how ridiculous theater concession prices are, and you get movie AND a dinner.

            Plus the seats are more comfortable, you don’t have to miss any of the movie to get a refill, and the places I’ve gone the food is good. A real kitchen with real food, as opposed to popcorn flavored butter and candy.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Also notice that you said sites, so all those developments are post-Internet. My recollection of the NFL in the pre-web 80s and 90s is that they very much marketed themselves as a red America thing.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I think this is a huge part of the upcoming Day of Reckoning for televised sports. From back when we struggled to program our VCRs to our modern age of streaming, live sports have always been the bulwark for the traditional television business model. If what we are seeing today is people deciding they can do without live sports, then a whole lot of businesses are in trouble.

      This, however, is different from people schlepping out to games. Or at least I think it is different. Do kids nowadays find weird the idea of planning a recreational activity ahead of time? I don’t think so, but this wouldn’t be the first time I have been out of touch with kids nowadays. I will have to ask them, before I yell at them to get off my lawn.

      Should it turn out that the NFL has indeed peaked, this Chargers no-fan strategy will, in retrospect, be recognized as a harbinger.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      Attending live professional sports is expensive and football is more expensive than most. At a federal office building I frequent, I overheard a conversation where somebody said they spent a little over 1000 to attend a Pittsburgh Stealers game in Pittsburgh. Granted it seemed to be a special seat but attending sports live used to be a lot cheaper.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to LeeEsq says:

        attending sports live used to be a lot cheaper.

        Back in the 1880s a basic ticket to get into a National League baseball game was fifty cents. This might or might not include a seat. If you wanted a good seat, i.e. in the grandstand behind home, it was another twenty-five cents. Most people got to the park by some sort of public transit. This varied, but another twenty cents for the round trip seems to have been roughly typical. (Chicago had a leg up in the early NL because its park was just a couple of blocks from the main business district. It was otherwise a crappy park, but its convenience made it an easy sell.) Refreshments of various sorts were sold at the park. The stereotype of the cheap beer was a nickel. Putting this together and we can reasonably say it cost about a buck to go to the game.

        How does this translate? It is hard to meaningfully talk about rate of inflation over such a time span. If we are talking about the price of breakfast, we get one rate. A month’s rent, we get another. Cell phone plans? The question breaks down. That being said, and taking the throat as having been cleared, my rule of thumb is a multiplier of twenty to thirty, depending on what exactly is being discussed. Split the difference and the price of that 1880s ball game is about 25 bucks.

        Can you do that today? Hell, yeah. When I go to an Orioles game I budget about forty dollars. This is for a seat at the front of the upper deck, directly behind home plate. You certainly can get cheaper than that. I park at my church and walk to the park, so that is not a significant factor. The Orioles let you bring in outside food. The streets around the park have many vendors eager to sell you ballpark food, but not at ballpark prices. I certainly could do the whole thing for $25, in a pinch. Then if we bring in minor league games, I budget $25 for a good ticket and food.

        The difference today is that you can spend upwards of that $25, going as high as you want to go. The club will be happy to take your money. This only affects my life in that it makes it prohibitive to get a great seat for a major league game. On the other hand, modern ballparks are well designed. The middling seats are actually pretty good, and often better than what you would have gotten in the 1880s. Also, 1880s ballpark restroom facilities are probably left uncontemplated.

        I routinely push back at the claim that baseball is too expensive for regular people to attend. You can spend as much as you want to, but that doesn’t mean you have to.Report

        • LeeEsq in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          I freely admit that not all professional sports are prohibitively expensive and baseball is easily the most reasonable. Football seems to take delight in charging what they can though.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to LeeEsq says:

            The NFL as a whole has seen the average ticket prices jump a full third since 2006 alone.

            And 2006 was pricey as hell compared to 1985.

            The NFL is basically pricing the middle class out of games.

            Season tickets used to be affordable to blue-collar workers. Not cheap, but affordable. Now? Assuming you can get them, you could use that money for a few trips to Europe.Report

          • Michael Cain in reply to LeeEsq says:

            I’ve always wondered about, but have always been too lazy to research, regional differences. In the last 30 years, the Denver metro area’s population has grown by >50%. Metro Cleveland, OTOH, has shrunk slightly over the same period (the cities proper have gone from almost the same size to Denver being 75% bigger). At least theoretically, the Broncos should have been able to increase prices quite a bit more than the Browns.Report

            • Jason in reply to Michael Cain says:

              The Broncos have increased their ticket prices. Tickets, parking, etc, make going to a game pretty pricey. I have a friend coming for the Chiefs game on New Years Eve and we’re staying downtown. That’s costing a bit, but we haven’t been to a game for a few years, so that’s okay.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          I wonder if this is where behavioral economics can help.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      The answer also seems to be geographic. Football is still king in the Midwest and Texas.Report

  2. Michael Cain says:

    Re club seats… It’s not that the seats are that much better, but there’s a club-level portion of the stadium interior. The club level at the stadium where I had such tickets* was heated (it was November), had real bars, lounges with massive TVs showing the game, a restaurant, an expanded concession menu (including better beers), all limited to the people with club-level tickets. And the lines at the restrooms were much shorter.

    * An equipment vendor provided the tickets, and I won the lottery at the departmental picnic. The face price on them was scary.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Michael Cain says:

      The luxury box seats I had at the old Vet ran from mediocre to terrible, if the point was to watch the game. They had an outdoor block of typical stadium-style seats in front, then a climate-controlled interior area. The front couple of rows of the outdoor seats were OK, but the club level was so narrow that past the front few rows the overhang was so low that you could watch fly balls. Rich guys who wanted to see the game, or to be seen to be watching the game, would get field-level box seats behind home plate. The game was incidental to the luxury box experience. Your description suggests, unsurprisingly, that this trend has continued apace. You can go to a lounge with a massive TV showing the game without going to the stadium, but being at the stadium adds to the conspicuous consumption.Report

      • Michael Cain in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        At least the viewing problem had been dealt with at this stadium: all of the club-level seats had an unobstructed view of the full field. I’m not sure that there is such a thing as a great seat at any new NFL stadium these days, given the size and the setback from the field before seating starts.

        The biggest difference I noticed between the stadium and TV experiences was the huge amount of dead time at the stadium. Lots of points when the players were just sort of standing around — not lining up, not huddling up, not talking to coaches, just standing there (presumably waiting for something happening on TV).Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Michael Cain says:

          Monumentally inefficient. Say what you will about minor league baseball, but there is precious little dead time. Even when the teams swap position on the field, there’s a short, catchy, audience interactive ad that keeps everybody engaged during the downtime.

          Football needs a Phillie Phanatic.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Michael Cain says:

      Baseball seems a lot more less ostentatious in their non-game entertainment.Report

      • Maybe. Denver is blessed/cursed with two stadiums of about the same age, one for MLB and one for the NFL. I’ve had a chance to walk through the “nice” parts of both. The baseball park has a lot less volume to work with, so the luxury areas tend to be smaller, but there are some really nice restricted areas. My perception is that the ball park provides a better range of food and drink for general ticket holders than the football stadium.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    The WWE is really, really, really trying to get a handle on the whole injury thing at the same time that it’s trying to overcome its carnie roots and ur-carnie locker room culture.

    The carnie roots contribute via the whole “hey, my money is my money, the gate is my money, the concessions are my money, everything is my money, and the only money that is yours is the money that I absolutely positively need to give you to show up and wrestle. Hey, I’ll give you 10 cheap seat tickets for you to tell to your friends, family, and the people who you interact with at your day job.”

    Getting promoters to pay for health care? PAH! You know why we know, instead of merely strongly suspecting, that pro wrestling is fake? Because Vince McMahon testified in court that it was fake because he didn’t want to pay for a ringside doctor as the law demanded of sporting events. “It’s not a sporting event. It’s fake. I shouldn’t have to pay for a ringside doctor.”, he testified (paraphrased).

    As for the locker room culture, hey, I was hazed. You have to be hazed. I worked with a couple of broken ribs. Hey, Mick Foley’s *EAR* was cut off. Vader’s eye popped out. And you know what? The match continued.


    Anyway, they’re trying to overcome those two things in order to provide a great product that provides the audience with violence, narrative, and spectacle.

    And even the ability to say “hey, no biggie… it’s fake” after the show. All of the sugar. None of the guilt.

    The NFL, in trying to become up-to-date and modern, is finding out that one of the things it was selling was “authenticity”.

    And if they can’t fake authenticity anymore… well, why wouldn’t you go somewhere else for your weekly dose of violence, narrative, and spectacle?Report

    • Troublesome Frog in reply to Jaybird says:

      The stories the pro wrestling folks have about body breakdown are pretty terrifying. Not only is what they do really rough, but they also work insane numbers of nights per year.Report

      • I kinda think that they need to have two lockerrooms with two seasons. Half the year leading up to WrestleMania, and come up with a show about six months after that becomes the “other” WrestleMania. Both lockerrooms work both WrestleManias but one lockerroom has all of their storylines wrap up at WrestleMania while the other half has all their storylines kick off there.

        And vice versa six months later.

        And each lockerroom gets six months off to heal, work out, eat right, exercise every other day, *NOT TRAVEL*, so on and so forth.

        But money is money. And the crowd standing and shouting like thunder? Go without that for six months?

        And there’s always one more 20 year old who has been dreaming about this since the first time he saw it and he would lie, cheat, and steal to get a dark match on your show… you going to give up your match?

        And so on.

        But I still think they should take a half year off.Report

  4. Pinky says:

    Peak NFL probably was 10 minutes before college ball adopted a playoff system. College and the pros have an odd relationship: they’re complimentary goods if you follow players’ careers from college to the NFL, but they’re competitive goods if a person has to choose between his Saturdays and Sundays.

    Most people find the college game to be superior. There’s more action. The defensive linemen are younger, meaning they’re smaller and have less training for elaborate schemes.

    Another thing that might be affecting NFL team loyalty is the explosion of legal fantasy sites. If “your” team is playing across 10 different games each weekend, you feel less obligation to watch them and root them on.

    ETA: Oh, and a lot of people are awake Sunday at 10am. They’re just not back home from church yet.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    I suspect that what is going on in the NFL is like Jaybird states above is about continuing socio-economic trends and trying to adopt in different directions while staying true to your roots.

    There are clearly lots of sports fans with left of center politics but for the longest time, the NFL seemed to pride itself as the sport of “red/real America.” The fans were supposed to be white men with right-leaning to outright right-wing politics. After all, the NFL did briefly think it was a good idea to make Rush Limbaugh a color commentator in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

    But the best NFL players are black and it turns out that they care about BLM and aren’t going to be silent about it. It also turns out that younger sports fans (or at least a good chunk of them) are rather left in their politics and not going to be silent about it either.

    Mike Ditka just released another bone-headed comment where he said that there hasn’t been any oppression in the last 100 year. For decades, the NFL just catered to guys who looked and thought like Mike Ditka and did really well. But now they are getting screamed at for only catering to the Mike Ditka’s of the world.

    There is also rising income and wealth inequality and a cheap seat is still a cheap seat. A 24,000 dollar per a game luxury box (sans food and drink as you write) is worth much more than a 1000-2000 twenty dollar seats. Plus I suspect that a lot of NFL teams put up with tailgating but would rather not encourage it. Tailgating with meat and beer from Costco or Walmart means less money spent at concession stands.

    I’m not a sports guy but a similar thing is happening in the performing arts world. It shouldn’t be a surprise that the audience for performing arts (classical music, theatre, dance, etc) is largely older. A lot of theatres including vibrant and avant-garde ones are struggling to find ways to get younger audience members. Video game night works for the symphonies but only as a one-off. Theatre doesn’t really know what to do. A lot of friends in the business (who are largely on the edges) scream that you need to make the tickets cheaper and the theatres say that they can’t.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Seriously, Saul, that’s crazy. Aside from displays of patriotism, which didn’t used to be considered partisan, there’s nothing Republican about the NFL.Report

      • Richard Hershberger in reply to Pinky says:

        I don’t think displays of patriotism per se are partisan today, but how they manifest can be. If it is with conspicuous militarism, that is another matter. Or consider the difference at the seventh inning stretch between “God Bless America” and “This Land is Your Land.” I think most on the left consider the current taking of knees to itself be a patriotic display, or at least consistent with it.Report

        • Pinky in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

          Displays of patriotism are taken as partisan today in a way they didn’t used to be. Ditto displays of support for the military. Maybe Saul has always considered them partisan, but the vast majority of the country wouldn’t have thought in those terms until the last few years.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

            Support for the military has been partisan since the Vietnam war.

            Another data point: those stupid “I support our troops” decals during Iraq 2.Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to Stillwater says:

              I disagree. Professions of support for the military, with accompanying flag-waving, is associated with the right. But support for, e.g., mental health care for veterans is not. I would submit that the latter is far more substantive support than the former.Report

              • KenB in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                This is where I find that Haidt’s Moral Foundations are helpful. Loyalty itself is a core value for people on the right but not for those on the left (broadly speaking). At the point that you’re talking about veterans’ health care, that falls more on the Care-Harm foundation (which left and right share) than the Loyalty foundation.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                There’s really not an anti-military party in the US and hasn’t been since, oh, Bush the Elder was President at the latest.

                The closest the Democrats come (in terms of having any real support in the party) is a belief that our military is much too big and we keep deploying it in places we shouldn’t. Getting people, including our own soldiers, killed needlessly.

                Since there really is no anti-military animus (that is, no influential group “hates the troops” — everyone’s pretty supportive of the role they’ve chosen to play and the service they perform), that makes the US military a fairly popular group.

                Which has led to, shall we say, some really shameless pandering from some quarters in an attempt to get that magic popularity to rub off. It’s particularly noxious when paired with the uptick in jingoism since 9/11. “We love you guys so much, we’re your number 1 fans, now go die pointlessly so I can get a boost in my poll numbers!” is a pretty bitter pill to swallow.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                I’m referring to the former.

                I’d add that the failure to adequately redress the emotional and physical costs combat incurs implies that that type of support wasn’t included in the slogan.Report

              • Richard Hershberger in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’m referring to the former.

                I got that. I was pushing back against equating flag-waving with supporting the military.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                Ahh. OK. I misread you up there the first time thru.Report

    • Damon in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      “A lot of theatres including vibrant and avant-garde ones are struggling to find ways to get younger audience members.”

      Well based upon some of the Fringe theatre programs I’ve seen, I’d rather not waste my money on a “risky” avante garde show that’s highly likely to be crap. My tolerance goes up substantially the less I pay.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Damon says:

        There is plenty of avant-garde that is pricey to. The nosebleed section at BAM can cost 60 dollars a seat plus service fees.

        I wasn’t trying to make avant-garde synonymous with bad but theatre is an expensive medium whether it is a big Broadway show/crowd-pleaser to a small 4 person play in a walk-up.Report

  6. gregiank says:

    The open seat porn of the chargers and niners won’t be a real issue until it embarrasses the league. That could be on a monday night game with a quarter full stadium. That is not the face the league wants fans to see since it would make them look like unpopular and like unsuccessful losers. Or if one of those teams actually gets good and still can’t fill their stadiums. Until then it is bad PR and unfortunate but they aren’t going to be too publicly worried. Most NFL owners are sleazy but i’m guessing even they saw how poorly the move out of San Diego went that situation is expected.

    They may not need the money from the cheap seats but empty stadiums don’t’ generate enthusiasm or loud cheering. Full stadiums and crazy crowds are part of the game experience. They will want those seats filled at some point.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to gregiank says:

      Open seat porn? I didn’t even know that such depravity was possible.Report

    • Slade the Leveller in reply to gregiank says:

      I’ve hardly watched any NFL games this year, but I’ve been an avid consumer in the past. If you watch games that are sparsely attended, you’ll notice that crowd shots are actively avoided by the TV cameras. This league has been in the TV business for years. They know how to angle the shots.Report

      • gregiank in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

        Yeah but they also love the “crowd is going wild shots” and talking about “THE NOISE”. If your crowd isn’t cheering louder than the sounds of nacho chips crunching that does change the ambiance of the event. In marquee games that would be embarrassing and terrible TV. Loud crowds are part of spectacle and communicate the thrill of the event. The lack of them would be very noticeable at big games. For a few home games with crappy teams it’s just a joke.Report

        • Slade the Leveller in reply to gregiank says:

          The big games aren’t the problem. They’ll always have a big crowd. The problem is the Chargers against whomever they’re playing.

          That said, it doesn’t take a whole bunch of people to make a fair bit of noise. Watch a mid-season baseball game with 2 teams clearly out of the race. Attendance will be down, but even at 50% capacity it can get loud when the home team does something worth cheering for.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

            That said, it doesn’t take a whole bunch of people to make a fair bit of noise.

            Right. All the producers gotta do is turn up the volume.Report

          • gregiank in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

            It’s not a big issue because of the clusterfish the chargers move was. It’s a bad image to have so few fans in the seats. Turning up the volume would be irrelevant and epically mocked if it ever happened at a big event. Having a half full stadium at a big event, which is highly unlikely, would present a terrible image.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to gregiank says:

              They can deal the way that pro wrestling deals with it. Tell the people at the top tiers to move to the lower tiers (hey, better seats for FREE!), tell the cameras and the producers to DO NOT LOOK ABOVE A PARTICULAR LINE, then turn up the sensitivity of the mics above the crowds.Report

            • Richard Hershberger in reply to gregiank says:

              I’m not sure about this, but I expect there is a rule against pipe noise in while a play is going on. Otherwise, they would do this whenever the visiting offense was one the field, with no “twelfth man” talk.Report

              • Just add the desired level of noise to the TV signal based on particular shots. It’s all computers these days, so that’s trivial. Of course, the viewers at home will figure it out when the color commentator says, “The noise here is incredible!” and the visiting QB is obviously calling an audible by voice rather than hand signals.Report

            • Slade the Leveller in reply to gregiank says:

              The Chargers move to L.A. is one of the more mysterious doings of the NFL. There’s a reason the Rams moved to St. Louis for a bit, and it wasn’t because of overwhelming fan support. Now they think it can support 2 teams?Report

              • Pinky in reply to Slade the Leveller says:

                Part of the thinking was that LA can support two teams more easily than one. Think of a stadium as an apartment that’s bigger than you can afford, and the other team as a roommate. I’m not saying it’s going to work – there are plenty of people who’ve tried it and got into trouble – but it was part of their thinking.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Pinky says:

                When I was double-checking Richard’s claim that he can budget a baseball ticket for $40, the Dodgers and Angels were listed on a site as having the cheapest average tickets in the MLB (around $10). There is something odd about the doubling-down on sports franchises in a city that doesn’t support them at the attendance levels that one would expect without massive discounting. (And if it’s not clear, I’m viewing cheap tickets as caused by low demand, they are number 1 and 7 in attendance this year)Report

              • Richard Hershberger in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Dude, I’m not budgeting the ticket at $40. I’m budgeting the whole trip at that.

                The cynic in my wonders what parking at Dodger Stadium costs. You can get to Camden Yards with driving, but that is less appealing with Dodger Stadium.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                See the last two years I’ve paid $60 per ticket for STL Cards games. These were weekday afternoon games, with tickets near the right field foul pole. For a family of three, with food, drinks and parking we probably spent about $270, and these were not the tickets I would normally get, but were part of a school group package.

                This is the site I located, which will require clicking through stadiums separately.


                Two tickets: $19.60
                Two hot dogs: $9
                Two beers: $9
                Parking: $10



                Two tickets: $21.60
                Two hot dogs: $11
                Two beers: $12.50
                Parking: $10Report

              • Morat20 in reply to PD Shaw says:

                That’s been my experience — football runs about 150 a person, for crap seats. Baseball runs about 50.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Morat20 says:

                Some of that, no doubt, is the difference between 8 and 81 home games per year.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Michael Cain says:

                No doubt, but it’s also the difference between “affordable” and “not” to most middle class.

                Stadiums are empty and people watch it on TV because the bulk of the fans can’t afford to attend often. If at all.Report

              • That and that football is a terrible live spectator sport. You go to the game for the atmosphere. If you want to actually see the game, you watch it on TV.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

                I disagree.

                In many ways, the football stadium is the best place to actually watch football. You aren’t limited by the camera and can see plays develop at all levels. With the right seat, you basically get the All-22 view. The problem is that the dead time and FOOTBALL SUNDAYS (i.e., fantasy, Red Zone) are not supported by the stadium experience.

                Baseball, on the other hand, is all about atmosphere. In most seats, you have no idea if it is a ball or strike. The TV is best there. But the atmosphere at a ball game is tops.Report

              • Nevermoor in reply to PD Shaw says:

                The A’s (hereigoagain) do 4 tix for $50 that come with hot dogs/soda/etc.Report

  7. Kolohe says:

    The NFL and their sponsors became rah rah military during Gulf War 1, but that went away when that war was over. It was pretty much just that Super bowl with Whitney Houston and such.

    They got again rah rah military right after 9/11 and that never went away because the war(s) never went away and the DoD was paying the NFL cash money to be rah rah military.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Kolohe says:

      From what I read, they were also rah-rah military during the Vietnam War and definitely tried to place themselves on the side of the Silent Majority.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    The whole middle level of FedEx field is ‘club level’, and addition to what everyone else has said, unsold ‘club level’ and equivalent don’t count against your required sellout percentage numbers for TV blackout rules. Though the blackout rules have long been enforced laxly and may be scrapped entirely by now, because as the post says, they really don’t need to ‘force’ people into the stands to make money.Report

    • Richard Hershberger in reply to Kolohe says:

      The NFL blackout rules are still on the books, but have been “suspended” for the past few years. I suspect that this will continue until they are quietly abolished.

      Professional sports have a long and hilarious history of fearing anything that they imagine will keep fans away from the stadium. This goes back to having a telegraph operator send inning-by-inning scores to a newspaper office, which would post them in its front window. The blackout rules are a vestige of this. The difference is that it is really obvious in the case of the NFL that television is the real money, followed by luxury boxes. Fans in the upper deck are not quite irrelevant, but pretty close, apart from the optics. In this understanding, cutting off the television feed because not enough Joe Sixpacks are showing up is simply insane.Report

  9. Jaybird says:

    According to Kevin Seifert, of NFL Nation, Roger Goodell has sent out a letter saying that… well, I’ll just cut and paste the opening sentence:

    The NFL has developed a plan to “move past” its ongoing debate about player protests during the national anthem and could enact it next week, commissioner Roger Goodell wrote Tuesday in a letter to all 32 teams.


    • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

      Prediction: This will not go well for the NFL.

      One indicator: Yesterday Michael Wilbon referred to Jerry Jones as having a “plantation mentality”.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        I don’t think Goodell will be there next season.

        My main question is whether Goodell will resign to spend more time with his family before or after the Superbowl.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

          I had someone explain to me yesterday that Goodell has been “the face” of the NFL since 2006 and he’s been booed pretty much non-stop ever since he took over for Tagliabue. “It’s his *JOB* to be hated. Everybody hates him and this lets the rest of the board get away with murder. That’s why he makes the big bucks.”

          As such, I am revising my opinion on whether he’s retiring somewhere around this season.Report

      • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

        Michael Wilbon is predictable. He’s not going to change anyone’s minds. The NFL does have to move past this for the sake of the brand, and I’m guessing they’ll be able to be 95% over it within two weeks.Report

        • Morat20 in reply to Pinky says:

          Considering it wasn’t a big deal until the President opened his mouth, I doubt the NFL is capable of stopping it until the President finds a new shiny ball to occupy his time.Report

          • Richard Hershberger in reply to Morat20 says:

            This. It has been in the NFL’s interest all along to do as little as possible and wait for this to pass into memory. But the Outrage Machine is in full gear. The NFL doesn’t have any good options that I can see.Report

          • Pinky in reply to Morat20 says:

            There will always be people trying to get mileage out of the controversy, sure.Report

            • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

              Like those who think black folk and others should stop disrespecting the flag by kneeling during the anthem.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                Yes. So?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                Huh? The president manufactured a controversy which will negatively impact the NFL and further divide our country and your entire response is “So?”Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Stillwater says:

                Nobody ever talked about the controversy on OT until the President tweeted?Report

              • Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Nobody spoke of it as an either/or proposition until Trump defined the battle lines.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Stillwater says:

                Seems like the issue was getting discussed a lot when Obama talked about it. The fact that Obama talked about both sides of the controversy makes it pretty clear that it was already a controversy.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Trump imposed a litmus test: anyone who doesn’t stand during the anthem should be fired for a lack of patriotism. I hadn’t heard anyone express that view until he did. Now the battle lines are clearly drawn, which puts the NFL in a no-win situation.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Stillwater says:

                So your basic point is that Trump lacks nuance. You are so far out on a limb here.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw says:

                I take is an obvious data point that Trump’s demand that NFL player be fired for protesting created an entirely new politically driven controversy here. I’m not sure why you disagree with that.

                You seem to be saying his comments neither changed the terms of the debate nor elevated the topic to one of national importance. I disagree on both counts.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Stillwater says:

                I was simply responding to this: “The president manufactured a controversy.” I didn’t realize that “controversy” had a much more specific meaning to you.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw says:

                Perhaps your focus should be on the word “a”.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Stillwater says:

                My response to your comment is “So?”.

                See, I said that I thought this would blow over. Morat said that the President would keep milking it, and Richard mentioned the outrage machine. I replied that yes, people would keep milking it. (That’s what I had in mind when I said that it’d be 95% cleared up soon. Nothing clears up 100%.) I didn’t see that your reply added anything new, so I said “Yes. So?”.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

                See Morat’s comment here.

                At best, we disagree on why this didn’t blow over. Which is to say: we disagree on not only the architecture of this dispute but the construction process as well.Report

            • Morat20 in reply to Pinky says:

              The fact that it’s the President who turned a rather quiet protest by an athlete no longer playing into some sort of litmus test for Patriotism is what — irrelevant?

              Nah, clearly Both Sides Are to Blame.Report

              • Pinky in reply to Morat20 says:

                I wasn’t assigning blame. I didn’t think this article was about assigning blame, beyond finding the cause of the NFL’s apparent recent problems. As for your description of the controversy, it doesn’t match the history. Dozens of players have been protesting.Report

          • Troublesome Frog in reply to Morat20 says:

            Maybe we can add “cratering the NFL” to Trump’s list of accomplishments before he leaves office. On one hand, that seems like it would have been really hard to predict. On the other hand, he did also crater the USFL, so it’s not without precedent.Report

        • Stillwater in reply to Pinky says:

          He’s not going to change anyone’s minds.

          Exactly right. He’s expressing what a whole bunch of people *already* think. It won’t end well!Report

    • gregiank in reply to Jaybird says:

      Least surprising news since the sun rising this morning.Report