TMQ preview: NFL shouldn't take fans for granted

Mon, Aug 23

For years, Tuesday Morning Quarterback has been warning there is no law of nature that says the NFL must always be so popular. People need food and shelter -- they don't need NFL tickets, something for management and labor both to keep in mind as spoiled rich athletes and arrogant rich owners fight over the spoils in the latest round of NFL-NFLPA bargaining, potentially turning off the public.

Latest evidence that there's no law of nature about football popularity? Ticket sales problems at the $1.7 billion new stadium of the Giants and Jets.

For a generation, both teams have played to perpetual packed houses. Both have boasted of tens of thousands of names on seasons-tickets waiting lists. Both went into marketing of the new stadium thinking no price could be too high for PSLs and tickets. Both found out otherwise.

In June, the Jets still had 9,000 unsold club-seat PSLs -- raising the possibility that home games would be blacked out. Jersey/B quietly cut the price of unsold PSLs by 50 percent, then to prevent a revolt in the stands, refunded 50 percent of the price already paid by those holding similar PSLs. The team reasoned it was better off with less PSL income but every seat taken.

This month, the Giants quietly began to offer single-game tickets for sale: normal for many sports teams, unheard-of in this case. PSL holders get first call on the individual tix, but if they don't all move, then individual tickets will be offered to anyone.

The Jets badly misjudged the market, pricing their PSLs too high, some at $20,000 -- plus $5,000 or so per year for the tickets. The Giants offered PSLs for somewhat less, but still wanted a pretty penny too, $1,000 to $5,000 for regular bowl seats that previously cost season-ticket holders nothing more than the face price of the tickets.

Read More