I thought it was just me and a small segment of other NFL fans throughout the country. Any number above five percent of pro football TV watching fans, in my estimation is a significant number of people. Well, Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily tweeted that viewing on Fox TVs single header through week nine was down 9% from last year. Viewership for the primetime game between the last Super Bowl champion (Broncos) and the upstart contending Raiders is a whopping 20%.
Another ominous warning for Commissioner Roger Goodell and his bosses, NFL Team Owners, should read like a stop sign on scheduling another game on another day of the week. And that is NFL ratings have declined for 27 prime time games. One can throw out different numbers for specific games. Obviously, the matchup of teams would be a determining viewing factor as would other scheduled TV events or national election news. Nevertheless, the result is that large numbers of people are turning away from the NFL. Other sports such as Baseball and Basketball are picking up the slack. Is it happenstance or a trend?
I began as fan rooting for Bart Starr and the Green Bay Packers. That was before I moved west. Even before the move, I began to like the San Francisco Forty Niners. I am still a fan of the Niners but find it hard to watch them lose game after game. So much so, that I changed the channel (Nov 5th) Sunday to follow the FBI’s report of ‘nothing to see here.’
Over the last fifteen years or so, pro-football was king. Over most of those years, Commissioner Goodell and a few greedy owners started to become unreasonable. People need to be reminded that these owners are rich and their teams are worth millions. A few successful franchises worth is into the billions. Now, the current commissioner presides over team officials that want a new stadium. They have seen the Cowboys, Minnesota, and even the Niners new facilities. They want to pay as little as possible for it, insisting their host city cough up large amounts of funds for this venture.
If you research most of these deals, you will find the NFL has taken the argument of say a COSCO or some other retail outlet and garnered a deal to build their store on a specific site in the host city. The idea is to show how this store benefits the area with a tax base, job in working for the store, and some other kinds of value for the community.
Each NFL team is a sole proprietor with limited investment partners acting as a sports entertainment mechanism. They are selling tickets to attend the game and advertising in every corner of the stadium. Don’t forget their contracts generating income with sports gear companies. They are making money any and everywhere possible. The question is at what cost to all the taxpayers in that city and or county.
What other business you know of allows you, the entrepreneur, to ask your customers to help finance a luxurious playing facility? The entrepreneur hires the architect, project manager, and everybody associated with building the facility. The NFL chips in because the league will make money on this venture too. The only benefit the taxpayers are getting is to say it is their team, without benefits. There is no benefit to the taxpayer, except bragging rights. The last time I checked, you can’t pay for anything with bragging rights. Nor can you trade your bragging rights or a portion of for any commodity.
Ticket prices are not going to be reduced although there is bound to be an increased seating area. Corporate is going to pay more for luxury suites. So, in the end, the owner’s revenue will increase, and sales at the concession stands will pay a higher use fee. The host city gets to pay for those tickets, maybe some at a discounted price. They also are responsible for furnishing the workforce required to direct automobile and pedestrian traffic. That is just a few of the indirect cost of hosting an NFL team in your city.
The city is already dealing with closing schools and firehouses. They’ve laid off police and are really in no shape to help rich owners build a stadium. Placing pressure on the host city, team officials scream you don’t love me. I am moving to another city where they will build me a nice stadium. Every year, I will only play an eight season schedule, plus a couple of pre-seasons game. So we, I and you Mr. City Host will have to find other attractions to rent out the stadium the rest of the year. By the way, our league will chip in some money, but we must have money from your city if you want us to play our home games in your city. We don’t care how it’s packaged as long as it is currency or negotiable and payable Bonds.
Take the Las Vegas Raiders, please. Here is one of the poorer teams who need a stadium. Or at the very least, they need a refurbishing of the Oakland Coliseum. A team that has moved from and back to Oakland. Alameda County and City taxpayers are still paying for the 63.9 million dollar relocation, operating and training facility. Reportedly it is part of the 197.7 million borrowed for improvements to the facility. Bloomberg writers Darrell Preston and Aaron Kuriloff wrote a piece on January 28, 2013, entitled, “Oakland Pays $14 Million for NFL Raiders as Cops Fired.” They reported that the “city and county have limited options to recover the loan because mandatory payments are limited to the amounts received from parking, concessions, and rent, according to stadium authority documents.”
It seems that these franchises will agree to most any plan as long as they are not going to be left holding the bag. Thus the problem, the host city is left with an incentive to get a deal done that keeps the team in the community.
To my mind, it surely doesn’t even out if the municipality has to lay off police officers, close schools, and other public service entities. That is why as much as I love football, I understand when a mayor like Libby Shaff says no. Especially when it comes to using public funds to maintain the status quo, make improvements or donating to the pot for building a brand new unit.
Goodell and the owners have gotten so sensitive to the injuries players are experiencing while playing the game. They sent out a memo asking the club personnel not to talk about concussed players. It’s as if they are trying to hide this fact from the public eye. Hey, Goodell, we are watching the game on a lot of big screen TVs. Replays show angles we didn’t initially see on impact. What is wrong with the NFL, are you kidding me?
And for a couple of years, Goodell has been floating this idea to add another game during another day during the week. I’ve gotten to the place where I cannot tell you who is playing on Monday night. I use to know the schedule as well as anybody including the coach of my favorite team.
Now I wonder if my favorite player is going to get up after making or getting tackled. Knock a player out of the lineup with a season-ending injury and I’m not sure who will take his place. I used to keep up with all things Forty-niners, as in who was cut or selected off the waiver wire. Now I have to wait until the announcer tells me who is returning kickoffs. I don’t know the player’s numbers much less their name. As for the NFL, the goose no longer can be sure their golden egg is in the same place they left it. The NFL needs a dose of common sense. And no one seems to have that trait that is in charge of anything.
Peace, yet stay vigilant for our American rights. Make it a day in which Jesus Christ would be proud of you,
Codis Hampton II
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