June 30, 2012

Game Changer: NFL Scrambles to Sell More Tickets

Kevin Vlark, writing for The Wall Street Journal:

"Team owners have passed a resolution that starting this season will allow for local broadcasts of NFL games even when as few as 85% of tickets are sold. Under the new rule, each team has more flexibility to establish its own seat-sales benchmark as long as it is 85% or higher. To discourage teams from setting easy benchmarks, teams will be forced to share more of the revenue when they exceed it."

This amounts to relaxing the TV blackout rule for NFL games. It also allows team owners more flexibility in setting their benchmarks, something that figures into our local NFL franchise.

The Washington Redskins recently removed several hundred seats from Fedex Field in order to create standing room-only party decks. I couldn't understand why they did that, given their long-term season ticket waiting list, until I read this article.

A sidebar notes that the Redskins were among the bottom five teams for average attendance as a percentage of stadium capacity, at 83.9% for the 2011 season. The team owner had apparently been buying up unused tickets in order to avoid the blackout, as the article alludes.

By removing seating capacity in favor of party decks, average attendance will increase if only because there will be as many fans attending, sitting in fewer seats. Sneaky.

You know how teams like the Redskins can reliably fill seats? They can win games. Just win.