NFL Matters

A lifelong NY Giants fan just ripped up his PSL and walked away. He’s boycotting the league. Part or all of his action has to do with the anthem protests. His opinion is this: he doesn’t go to games to see politics.. he comes to watch football and escape politics. He’s voting with his feet to no longer attend or watch the games on television. “The NFL put the employees ahead of the customers. I can only let them know my displeasure by no longer buying or supporting their product.”

I have plenty of political views. If you want to get into that, follow me on Twitter and that can be the space for politics. I don’t want my football messed with politics.

Roger Goodell and the NFL handled the matter with incompetence, as usual. Why this guy gets $40M+ per season is baffling. Yah, it’s all about the money. But attendance (ratings) is down. It was going down before the protests and it is going down more after them. People who support the protests worry less about ratings. I don’t get entertained so that I can worry about other issues. Football is a game. It is escape. It is a distraction.

Let’s talk PSLs. This NY Giants blogger has railed against them for many years. It is a land grab by owners to get additional money from fans. The market will pay what it can bear. The problem is that PSLs stretch the goodwill between fan and franchise so far that there is nothing left when something goes wrong. Fans are tapped. $10 beers. $35 for parking. Paying for useless preseason games. Being used as pawns on flex games. Late Sunday night games with work on Monday. Our day jobs pay for the league to operate. Those day jobs, one way or another, pay for PSLs. It’s reaching saturation.

Saturation is where that 20 year waiting list for season’s tickets evaporates overnight. People work plenty hard for their discretionary spending. Economists call this concept of the extra value in a product the “consumer surplus.” It’s that extra value you get by buying something. You can see it first hand when you can buy a jar of Advil for 7 cents per pill and then when you have a headache at the airport you’ll pay $1.00 per pill to get relief. That 93 cents difference is the consumer surplus. PSLs wipe out the surplus. The NFL has saturated its product. They even got the City of Las Vegas to charge visitors more in taxes on their hotel rooms to pay for the new stadium. It’s insidious. Where do you think Odell Beckham’s salary, Roger Goodell’s salary and the $1.7B Met Life stadium come from? It comes from you and me. They have tapped us dry, and therein lies the problem for the legacy of Goodell. There is no more goodwill left. The consumer surplus joy of the product above our cost is gone. We can walk away. And ratings indicate that that is exactly what is happening.

The new Raiders stadium in Las Vegas is going to have PSLs. Club seats are selling for $20K-$75K per seat. Seats for the rest of us are $4K-$15K. Don’t do it… not for your team or any other. If you want to watch a game, just pay for the game through a ticket exchange. Unless it’s a playoff game, you’ll probably get reasonable access at a price pretty close to face value. And you won’t have to be burdened with a PSL, the obligation to buy all 10 games, and then the need/hassle of selling tickets to games that you don’t want.

Why do I bother blogging? Because if I can convince even just one person not to pay for a PSL, I have fought back against NFL greed. Let’s return some consumer surplus joy to the game we all love. Keep booing Goodell. He is the man who lines the pockets of current owners at the expense of the future of the game. He is the man who lacks the creativity to help employees channel change without interfering with an entertainment product.

I believe in Football. I believe in consumer surplus. Fight to protect that by pushing back when the NFL is reaching too hard for your wallet. And be ready to walk away, if that’s what it takes.

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