2011 NFL Lockout: Looming Effects on Ticket Sales
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Notable Lockouts: On August 12th, 1994 the MLBPA began a 232 day strike lasting until April 2nd, 1995. This caused the cancellation of 232 to 248 (variance due to loss of a post season) and the first time since 1904 that the World Series was cancelled.
On July 1st, 1998 the NBAPA began a lockout that lasted 204 days until January 20th, 1999. The season was on the verge of being completely cancelled until an agreement was quickly formalized and the season was able to be played but shortened to 50 games compared to the normal 82.
On September 16th, 2004 the NHLPA started the first lockout that had cancelled an entire season. This lockout lasted 310 days and ended July 13th, 2005.
The current NFL lockout started at 11:59 p.m. on March 11th, 2011 when the collective bargaining agreement expired. A collective bargaining agreement is a set of negotiations that formulates a contract between the players union and the owners that shapes a set of work conditions (i.e working hours, wage scales, health and safety) for the players of the union. The lockout has continued despite various congressional hearings.
America’s number 1 sport is currently not active. I know its early to say this but the NFL is on the verge of not having a season. Any NFL fan sees this as a tragedy and if they are as pessimistic about the situation as I am they are either 1) coming to terms with the possibility of there not being a season and experiencing the most boring fall/winter ever or 2) cursing the players and the owners for wanting more money. According to plunkettresearch.com, the NFL’s revenue in 2010 was $7.8 billion. This only takes into account the revenue made by the NFL industry. This completely leaves out the whole aspect of the amount of chicken wings, pizza and beer purchased on game day. 1.25 billion chicken wings were consumed during the 2011 Super Bowl weekend alone. Buffalo Wild Wings started “Save Our Season” petition to solely have an NFL season. One cannot exclude the 1.8 million copies of EA Sports Madden 2011 sold last August. I’d bet money that if the 2011 season is cancelled the installments Madden 2012 or Madden 2013 will not reach it’s predecessors level of success.
The irony behind the lockout is that while the players and owners are negotiating, neither side is making money off of the industry. The owners have nothing to worry about because they are financially stable with their other businesses. Some players have the luxury of kicking back at their large estates and enjoying hobbies or leisurely activities they normally don’t have time for due to intensive training for the upcoming season (although some players are holding practices and are allowed in the facilities). The large majority of the NFL players though are forced to find jobs and work. Chad Ochocinco (doesn’t need to but it is in our interest for entertainment) is currently playing soccer. Tom Zbikowski took up boxing (4-0 record with 3 K.O.) Chad Hall and Matthew Stafford are currently trying to open a wings/sports bar restaurant. You may not have any sympathy for these guys anyway because of their $400,000+ a year contracts so they could clearly live a year, right? Wrong. What about those players who have been drafted this year and will be experiencing the lockout. If there is no season, these rookies get no pay and they are going to need some form of income to survive for a year.
America is fueled by football. NFL tickets are still being sold over the secondary ticket market for 2011. In fact here is a compiled list of the average ticket price for each NFL team. To give an idea of how valuable the NFL is to the secondary ticket market, there were 530,936 tickets sold during the 2010-2011 NFL season. This generated a total revenue of $86,763,038.09. At this point this number may go down even if there is an NFL season. Commissioner Goodell acknowledges that due to all of this drama the NFL’s popularity is dropping. This doesn’t mean the NFL is in trouble, it just means the ratings for the season may not be as high. However this could play a large roll in the demand for college football tickets. Michigan has the largest stadium in college football (compiled list of the largest stadiums in the world) seating 109,901 (rumors linger of expanding the stadium by 10,000 seats). If there is no NFL season (again I’m being pessimistic) I’m bold enough to say Michigan will have a few sell out games this season with the national demand for football.