Football is the top sport in the United States and there is nothing like being part of the atmosphere. But have the rules changed for the fans? Despite record breaking television numbers, more money coming in from merchandise, advertising, television deals and other revenue streams; professional teams increase the price of tickets and require a sellout for a game to be broadcast locally. Is that really fair?
The state of the economy is debatable but everyone can agree it is near near what we would like it to be, yet professional teams continue to charge as much as they want for us to support them. A jersey is a minimum of $ 100, the average cost to take a family of four to a game is over $ 200 and little has been done to increase the fan experience.
That's not to say you can not have a great time at a game, after all there is a reason we support our teams so much, though, is not sitting at home and watching the game on television supporting your team as well? Think about this, if the television ratings go down then the advertising revenue goes down as well. So to blackout local fans when the game is not sellout actually hurts the team financially as much as it does the fan base.
College football is in a similar situation. Despite record numbers of television revenue, great fan support and worldwide exposure, most colleges are charging more now than ever to attend a game. Colleges do not even have the excuse of having to pay their players like the professional leagues do.
So what is the answer for the average fan?
Going to a game does put you right in the middle of the atmosphere but think about a few things first:
1. You have to leave several hours early just to get a decent parking spot and you also have to pay for parking. Why is that? Do you have to pay for parking when you go to the grocery store?
2. The game is harder to follow in person as far as injuries, timeouts, down and distance and so forth. You can find some of this information but checking out the big screens that are up now, but does not that too defeat the purpose? You are going to a game to watch most of it on a big screen?
3. Does everyone act their age? A football game consists of a mixture of alcohol, testosterone and emotion. Not exactly the family friendly environment we grew up in years ago.
If you decide to stay home you get better coverage, do not spend nearly the same amount of money and you can use a clean bathroom whenever you want. Oh and let's not forget that you do not have to spend hours in bumper to bumper traffic!
Fans not going to games is not a sign of lack of support, it is a sign of people tired of paying more for less.