They can always add another round of playoffs.

This is what happens when you make your sport a sellout for broadcast interests.

With declines in ticket sales each of the past five years, average game attendance is down 4.5% since 2007, while broadcast and online viewership is soaring. The NFL is worried that its couch-potato options—both on television and on mobile devices—have become good enough that many fans don’t see the point of attending an actual game.

“The at-home experience has gotten better and cheaper, while the in-stadium experience feels like it hasn’t,” said Eric Grubman, the NFL’s executive vice president of ventures and business operations. “That’s a trend that we’ve got to do something about.”

And how ironic is the proposed solution?  Pretty damned so.

In hopes that professional football can mimic the wild stadium atmosphere typical of college football games, the NFL says it has “liberalized” its restraints on crowd noise. Stadiums will now be free to rile up crowds with video displays, and public-address announcers will no longer be restrained from inciting racket when the opposing offense faces a crucial third down.  [Emphasis added.]

Because we all know that PA-generated hype is the soul of what makes the college football experience.

The NFL has spent years making its game less and less fan friendly, because as long as the TV money kept rolling in, it didn’t matter.  Life’s a bitch when the consequences start catching up with you.  And after years of ignoring their fans who are ticket holders, what makes NFL suits think they’re smart enough now to cater to them?  Judging from the above, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a successful answer to that question.

Keep this in mind the next time you hear geniuses like Larry Scott talk about how following the NFL model makes sense.  This is your future, college football fans.  Cherish the hell out of it.

16 Comments

Filed under College Football, It's Just Bidness

16 responses to “They can always add another round of playoffs.

  1. I hate the NFL for the following reasons:
    1) TV timeouts after FG/PAT and then the ensuing kick-off
    2) Everyone runs the exact same schemes – no team has a playing personality
    3) No such thing as offensive pass interference and the penalty for defensive interference is draconian
    4) The stadiums (with the exception of Lambeau Field) aren’t places you must see unlike college or MLB

    I coul keep going, but the NFL suits don’t understand what makes college football great: Every game especially rivalries matters.

    • Brodie Bruce

      Couldn’t agree more. There are so many commercials that I just can’t stay interested in the games anymore. So if the game does not interest me on TV–why would I buy tickets to go!?

      And this is my favorite part of the argument: Do you know what they play in the stadium during the WAY too many TV Commercial timeouts? Commercials!! Haven’t I paid enough to be at the game to avoid the commercials I am forced to watch while watching at home? Apparently not!

    • Governor Milledge

      Playing personality also isn’t helped when the average NFL roster has such massive YoY turnover.

      The NFL probably can’t put FA back in the box, but at least it could liberalize TD celebrations and bring back some team-unique flavors to the game

      • Brodie Bruce

        Agree again…I think they should have some longevity discount on Player Salary impact on the cap–the longer one player has been in one place, the bigger the discount…and the bigger justification for keeping teams together–plus it would discourage players from hopping from team to team just to make Drew Rosenhaus richer.

  2. I wanna Red Cup

    I couldn’t agree with you more Senator. The pumped in music between plays at the pro game gives me a headache. Fans cheer successful plays and then boo the very next play if it is not executed well or if one of the players on the opposing team makes a play. It is getting close to this now where I sit in Stanford. If every single play does not go for 10 yards the idiot behind me is complaining about Bobo, CMR, Murray, etc etc. He doesn’t seem to realize that the other team usually has a player or two who is trying his best to stop us and that not every play called will go for a touchdown no matter who we are playing.
    I am afraid that the suits are going to follow the money no matter what and will ruin our game.

  3. simpl_matter

    It’s not the experience, it’s the ticket prices that are keeping fans at home.

    • David

      Yep. The average guy gave up years ago trying to take his family to an NFL game, much less buying season tickets. I don’t mind the NFL game experience and appreciate that it’s different from a college game. But its certainly not worth $80-$100 to go to a game.

    • KornDawg

      And as a Falcons fan, I can’t imagine what the ticket prices will be if they get the new stadium Arthur Blank so desperately “needs.”

    • No One Knows You're a Dawg

      Agree. Many sports have yet to understand the Great Recession (or post Great Recession) economy. The ticket money that was there 5 or 6 years ago is gone, and it isn’t coming back any time soon. Combine that with the technology changes noted, and I think teams are going to have to start thinking of ticket sales as loss leaders (or at least “not-as-much-profit-leaders”) and instead look to TV for the bulk of their net profits. Getting fans in the seats will still be important though, because they will provide color and energy for the viewing audience at home.

      • simpl_matter

        Exactly, how much less fun is watching a game (on TV or otherwise) in an empty stadium. The energy just isn’t there. Take my closest NFL team, the Bucs, they were blacked-out all of last year. I caught the games using an HD antenna, the stadium was barely 25% full sometimes. They should have cut ticket prices in half (or more), filled up the seats, and lifted the blackout. Instead, they did nothing, and it was like last year’s sh*tty season happened in a near-vacuum.

    • Didn’t you see what the exec said? “The at-home experience has gotten better and cheaper, while the in-stadium experience feels like it hasn’t,”

      He say’s it ‘feels’ more expensive, but I’m sure he won’t tell you that it obviously is. I tell you what, I agree my wallet feels lighter after buying a $15 beer while waiting for momentum/excitement killing TV timeouts to conclude.

      Oh, and they just reduced the blackout requirements so more games can be on TV. Thanks Coors Light!

      Time to go tailgate in a soulless concrete jungle outside of the Georgia Dome…

  4. Monday Night Frotteur

    FBS attendance dropped by -415/game between 2010 and 2011, and by -830/game since 2007.

    Seems like they’ve both declined as prices increase and home viewing options improve in quality, *not* because of any “NFL Model.” CFB’s atrocious postseason isn’t increasing attendance in Iowa-MSU games.

  5. DawgPhan

    The other part of NFL style football in the college ranks is that players dont get in trouble until their case is adjudicated. Jerome Simpson had pounds of weed at his house along with the distribution paraphernalia. He missed zero games last year and will only miss 3 games this year. He was convicted of a Class D Felony(whatever that means).

    Would anyone in athens have the stomach to wait for the court to handle a situation like Crowell and let him back on the team with just a 2 game suspension should the case turn into 2 misdemeanors instead of 2 felonies?

    FSU and Jimbo dont have any issues waiting for the courts to settle Wilder Jr’s case before issuing any punishments. And all reports are that Wilder will get no additional punishment from FSU, at least in the way of missing games. LSU doesnt have issue with Mett’s history.

    Is this another case of UGA wanting to look down it’s nose at the rest of the league, all the while creating a disadvantage for themselves(oversigning, greyshirts, drug policy, etc.)

    Is it even reasonable to expect UGA to compete with the rest of the SEC when we seemingly play by a much stricter set of rules.

    Is UGA football a victim of decades of “tough on crime” mentality that does nothing to reduce crime, creates a burden for everyone and places those “tough on crime” at a disadvantage.

    Tired of looking down my nose, while everyone else wins.

  6. Always Someone Else's Fault

    NFL games in person are the opposite of fun. You pay a lot of money to be an extra in a TV production who cheers on queue.

    When I go to watch some football, I want to talk some football. And the sound system/video board stuff is the problem, not the solution. You can’t even talk to the person next to you about the play that just happened or what might be coming next – it’s literally too loud for conversation in between plays because the speakers are running Crazy Train at full blast. I love Crazy Train, but I’ll listen on the car stereo during the drive home.

    The sooner someone in Commissioner’s Row stands up and says, “Screw the NFL model, we have a better game that works for our fans and people who actually enjoy the game rather than a TV spectacle,” the better.

  7. 69Dawg

    The colleges UGA included have already turned the game day experience into a Pro-type feel. Tailgate restrictions, PA blasting out music when you have one and most times two real live bands that are there to get the fans jacked up. I know some of the people around me have taken to wearing ear plugs because of the PA music. Oh yea the score board commercials someone mentioned above are alive and well at UGA. At least most TV shows let the live audience in free so they have no complaints, if this keeps up the Pro’s will have to pay extras to fill up the studio er stadium, oh wait they have already done that for the Pro-Bowl.

  8. UGARUGBY79

    I really don’t like the blasting music in to a stadium just such a gimmickey feeling-not real–Senator I really admire your stand on this issue-you are so right on ! I hope and pray that some of the powers that be hear your voice–I think there is a good chance some of them read your blog–after all its only COLLEGE FOOTBALL that is at stake