By: Preston Beale
Home Entertainment or Venue Entertainment?
Did you know that the average cost for a seat to a National Football League (NFL) game in 2015 ranged from $57.65 to $123.40? The first of the two prices comes from the Jacksonville Jaguars and the latter comes from the New York Giants. The NFL’s average for 2015 was marked at $85.83. According to FactBook, the NFL’s 2014 average price for tickets was reported to be $84.43 which was a 3.5 percent increase from the 2013 season. Ticket prices have risen each year. Although ticket price grew by a very small margin from 2014 to 2015, fans still have to question why the NFL is constantly raising the cost of tickets. Simply put, the NFL strategizes on a law of supply and demand. There are an infinite amount of tickets to be supplied but only a somewhat miniscule number of seats that can be possibly filled thus, yielding a continuous rise in demand. As reported by stadiumsofprofootball.com, the Chicago Bear’s Soldier Field holds the lowest capacity, being 61,500, while the New York Giant’s MetLife Stadium can hold up to 82, 500 die-hard fans. ESPN calculated the average attendance for games and stated that on average the Chicago Bears held 62,035 entailing that more seats were placed in undesirable sections because the attendance rate surpassed the capacity of the stadium by 535. If you think those numbers are surprising, then I draw your eyes to the attendance rate and capacity of the AT&T Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys host their games. Cowboys set their capacity limit at 80,000 but on average they received a total of 91,459 screaming supporters. But, my question for you now is why go the game when you can kick-back, be comfortable, and receive a better at home experience? In a modern world with a vast amount of technological innovations and advances, it is easy to simply sit on one’s warm couch on NFL Sundays and watch all the games on their big-screen HD TV.
As stated by Statista.com, the number of households TV’s sold in the United States in 2015 were estimated to a sum of 116.4 million. The numbers have staggered much in recent years but if Americans were to look at the calculation of sales in the year 2000—which was 102 102.2 million—and compare it to the sales in 2015, they will see that there has been an expansion on sales of approximately 1 million each year. Being a very diverse populous in this century, means more: staying-in, streaming, and affordable snacks. Furthermore, Joe Lautner, a Director of Control at Consumer Electronic Association (CEA)—a company that manages a portfolio of best in class brands in the home control / automation, audio, and energy management categories—stated in 2014 that:
While total industry sales are forecast to grow 2.4 percent, to $208 billion in 2014, the growth rate for sales of home technology solutions, including multi-room AV systems but excluding home security solutions, are expected to exceed that, clocking in at seven percent and pushing total home technology revenues to $2.4 billion in 2014…
As they say numbers don’t lie and as it appears to me, more Americans are reeling in home entertainment systems to catch free NFL games with the feeling of being at the game, but they are really not. I am not arguing that fanatics will not attend games on occasion, but in the category of attendance it is decreasing.
In reviewing the average attendance to home games for Tom “Pretty Boy” Brady and the New England Patriots’, I noticed that attendance was 550,048 in 2014 but this past year, the attendance dropped to 534, 632. Where did all the patriotic fans go? Maybe they stayed at home and dined on some saucy wings while watching the game on their flat screen. That’s the only logical conclusion because last year their record was the same as 2015—not mentioning that they also went on to in the Super Bowl that year—and this year the only difference was them losing to the elderly Payton Manning and his Denver Broncos in the 2015 conference championship. Just in case you are arguing on the basis of attendance for the two years that the Patriots went back to back to the conference championship game, here are the numbers—the first of the two is the attendance for 2014 and the latter is for 2015—68,756 and 77,112. I do not blame those Patriot fans who decided to watch the game at home, it is a smart decision. Returning to the summary constructed by the CEA, Steve Koenig, Director of Industry Analysis, claimed that:
We’re starting to really be able to not only define that but wrap some context about what that means. We have feedback from these intelligent systems, a greater modicum of control, awareness and convenience. Ten years ago we had ideas of what a smart home is and now it’s becoming a physical reality.
The question today for most fans is whether or not to conform like others to the world of digital media and streaming or, to be loyal and dedicated in knowing that tickets are becoming more expensive. As I said before, the NFL is completely aware of its attendance decreasing due to advancements in home technologies. In fact NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy tended to the issue by saying “we’re in essence competing with ourselves” and then adds:
Our [the NFL] fans are still going to stadiums, but the majority of our games are still free on TV, which is different than the other sports leagues. So there’s an incredible value for being an NFL fan and it doesn’t cost the fan to watch the game over the TV.
I honestly do not see the reason to attend an NFL game if the league is knowledgeable of its actions. Money runs the world there is no ifs, ands, or buats about it. However, whoever chooses to act unwise and pay for the high expenditures placed upon fans just too see the money transfer to the members and athletes of the league, then that person is in for rude awakening. I believe that if supporters of different teams feed into the NFL’s goals they will slowly watch their savings’ deplete while salaries throughout the NFL increase. That being said, let us not give in and be tricked to pay for overly priced tickets, hot dogs, and beer. In our economy today, should not all Americans be trying to save their money?
2014 Digital America. Arlington, VA: Consumer Electronic Association. 2014. PDF. Web. 27 Feb. 2016
“2015 NFL Attendance.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 2015. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“Average NFL Ticket Price by Team 2015 | Statistic.” Statista. Statista Inc., 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
Greenberg, Jon. “2014 NFL Fan Cost Index.” Factbook. Team Marketing Report, 2014. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
Green, Miranda. “Why Rising Ticket Prices and Technology Lead NFL Fans to Stay Home.” The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast, 23 Dec. 2012. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“NFL Average Concession Stand Prices 2006-2015 | Statistic.” Statista. Statista Inc., 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“NFL STADIUM COMPARISONS.” NFL Stadium Comparisons, Stadiums of Pro Football. Stadiums of Pro Football, 2001. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“Number of TV Households in the U.S. 2015 | Statistic.” Statista. Statista Inc., 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.
“Pro Football Reference.” Pro-Football-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 8 Feb. 2016. Web. 27 Feb. 2016.