« Sports

Look, It’s Our Fault

by Nick Vitrano

With a Thursday afternoon blackout deadline looming, 75% of the NFL’s Wild Card weekend contests were in danger of not being televised in their respective home markets.  75% - 3 out of 4…wow!

Anxious fans seeking a target for their apprehension almost unanimously pointed their collective finger at greed.  Translation: ticket prices are too high - the “normal fan” has been frozen out of the in-stadium experience. 

There are other factors to consider, especially in non-domed locations.  Weather is a legitimate deterrent to many.  Complicating things is timing: the holidays see quite a few folks maxing out their budgets.  In addition, some fan bases didn’t know until Sunday night that they were post-season bound.  And then there’s the fact that my own snacks, my own bathroom, my own seat, and unlimited replays on my 50 inches of high definition glory in the climate controlled environment of my living room is not so bad.

75% of the home markets will not be blacked out.  But as we wipe our brows and exhale, be careful at whom you direct your ire, fans.  Misdirected angst rarely finds the true culprit…us.

While I agree that ticket prices have risen to alarming levels…while I agree that many fans opt for their own couches vs. the bench or seat at fill-in-the-blank stadium, the “normal fan” has not been frozen out.  Simply put, there is a new normal for the in-stadium experience, and it’s more expensive.  And you know what?  It’s our fault.  Sure, the League…the team…they jack up the rates.  But we keep on paying ‘em.  

Like any business, teams and the League seek to maximize their profits, so…again, like any business…they massage the costs to the consumer, constantly gauging what we’re willing to pay.  When we push back, prices tend to follow – or a higher functioning clientele moves in.  That’s just business.  And sometimes business sucks for the normal guy.

But here’s the upside to not being to be able to see the Wild Card game in your market: the best thing that could happen for the “normal fan,” as we generally define him, is a blackout.