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The issue: NFL is back
Our view: At what price?
After many months of battle between millionaires and billionaires, the NFL is back on track for the 2011 season.
Just the thought of carving up the unfathomable revenue pie would be incomprehensible for most of us. Somehow the owners and players reached a multi-billion dollar, 10-year deal that both groups seem happy about. Fortunately for us common folk, we still have our Sunday afternoon, Sunday night, Monday night and the occasional Thursday night to root for our favorite NFL team and players.
At a time when the national economy is spiraling and unemployment is in the double digits, it is nice to know that we can look forward to Chad Ochocinco telling us how great he is and Jets coach Rex Ryan holding a news conference while wearing a wig. Yes, football is back, to that end we say it’s good for the American spirit and morale.
To the concept of owners and players fighting over a $9 billion pie that is projected to be $18 billion in five years, we say why are you fighting in the first place? The answer for both groups is money and prehaps greed.
The only group left out of this settlement was the fans. Like most professional sports, it is primarily about the money and those who bring the money to the table (the fans) have very little influence over the sport they support.
An issue that did not enter into negotiations between the players and the owners is the fan cost index. FCI is a measurement used to gauge the investment needed for a family of four to attend a sporting event. In the NFL, it varies from market to market with Dallas leading the league with an average ticket cost of $160. So take the family to a game in Dallas, park the car, buy some soft drinks, hot dogs then maybe a t-shirt and whamo you spent $759. Do the same thing in Buffalo where the average ticket price is $51 and you’ll still spend $304 to take your family to the game.
Of course for the FCI to be lowered, players and owners would need to agree on the importance of making their product financially available to the “haves” as well as the “have nots.”
Forbes produces a list of the top 50 richest sports franchises. It should not surprise anyone that all 32 of the NFL’s franchises are on that list.
The new deal includes limits on training, off-season programs, rookie wage scales, more money for retirees and more money for everyone, except the fans.
While it’s good that football is back it would be a lot better if it came back for less money to the devoted customer.
The NFL seems to have a handle on its economy. Perhaps we should consider having them take a run at the national economy too or would that cost us more?
This editorial represents a consensus of The News-Enterprise editorial board.