This Saturday the Indianapolis Colts will be facing the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 2013 NFL playoffs. The NFL has done a great job at marketing its product. They’ve also done a great job at making the home viewer experience better. With HD, more camera angles and on the field audio it’s great to stay home and watch a game. NFL games are some of the most watched sporting events and with good reason. This is great for the fan and great for the league. The NFL can make more money off of the TV contracts and add revenues. The fan can get a great experience without many of the hassles associated with going to an actual game.
The problem is that the NFL is still stuck on the idea of bringing as many fans into the stadium as possible but they aren’t offering many incentives. To get a seat that you don’t need to squint to see the field, you could easily spend a couple hundred of dollars. Add in the ridiculous prices for food and beer. The parking, gas or other transportation costs can add up as well. The grand total could easily be the same as a brand new TV and surround sound system for your personal home fancave.
Not only that, but if I spend less money I get to eat what I want, when I want. I don’t have to tolerate obnoxious drunk strangers, unless they’re my friends. I also don’t have to deal with crazy lines. Fortunately Colts fans don’t have to worry about the cold in Lucas Oil Stadium (unless they’re playing Peyton Manning), but that’s another thing that some fans of other teams think about.
In addition to the Colts vs. Chiefs there will be three other games this weekend. Three out of the four playoff games are in danger of being blacked out. The Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and Cincinnati Bengals are all scrambling to sell a few thousand tickets by 4:30 PM today or they are in jeopardy of having a lot of hometown fans resorting to illegal internet streaming or listening to the radio.
If you look at many of the popular sports news websites you’ll see a lot of the same thing. The cold weather is to blame for the low ticket sales. That’s a consideration I’m sure, but it’s not the true meaning. Green Bay is going to be several degrees below zero during the game. That’s brutal for several hours. I don’t blame the fans for wanting to stay in their heated homes. The same thing goes for Cincinnati. It’s going to be below freezing during the game as well. You can easily see how the weather could impact someone’s decision to buy tickets.
The problem is that this is nothing new for these cities. It’s often below freezing for these games and many of the fans are used to it. Some of the fans claim to love it. Indianapolis is different. You can’t blame the the weather for the low ticket sales. It’s an indoor stadium. The problem is the outrageous prices for tickets. They can easily make the prices less and still be making money hand over fist.
This is not a condition of weather or anything else. It’s simple economics. Something is only worth what people are willing to pay for it. As long as people continue to pay ridiculous prices for NFL tickets, then the NFL and teams will continue to charge those prices. As soon as it becomes clear that people will no longer pay those prices then ticket prices will begin to drop. The NFL is trying to bully the fans into paying their outrages prices by threatening to black it out. This is not a good business practice. You never threaten the customer to pay what you want instead of what’s reasonable. Instead you offer more to boost the value. The NFL hasn’t done much to add to the stadium experience other than higher prices for everything in the stadium. Hopefully they will see the need to keep their customers happy.
As for this Colts fan, I’ll be watching from home with friends. If they decide to clack it out, I’ll be listening to the game on the radio. I’ll get my Colts fix regardless of how childish the NFL wants to be.