(I think it’s bad business. I simply must vent my disappointment – and anger – at the National Football League.)
First, let me establish the fact that I’m a die-hard football fan and have been since I was a little kid. Signed up to play what in 1963 was called “Midget Football” the minute I was old enough, and continued to play through my four years of college. Wouldn’t trade those active, playing days for anything. I even loved all the practices! (…well, most of them.)
I still spend Fall Saturdays, Sundays and now Mondays, Thursdays and other days, watching the game. Became an Atlanta Falcons season ticket holder when I could finally afford it back in 1993.
Going into year 23 as a Falcons season ticket holder, I’m thinking it’s probably my last.
My love of the game hasn’t slackened a bit, but what the Falcons and their NFL cohorts are up to is not about football. It’s all about business, i.e., money. As a businessman I have absolutely no problem with that. I do have a major problem with all the BS rhetoric about “the fan experience.” Not everyone is that friggin’ stupid, NFL owners. I’m OK with you guys taking as much cash out of your gig as you can. This is America after all! I’m not OK with you expecting me to blithely contribute to you getting your next billion without considering my alternatives.
I gagged a bit this year at the $110 per seat per game price tag. At three hours per game, that works out to about $73/hour. OK, I laid out the cash. Now let’s take a look at what the equivalent, goal line seats at the new Falcons stadium will run me starting with the 2017 season. First, the billionaire owner Arthur Blank, wants me to send him a check for $11,000 so that I can have the privilege to pay him $175 per seat per game. That’s a 68% price increase without the “Personal Seat License.” Factor in the 11 grand and it’s $250 per seat per game!
In actual fact, the Atlanta Falcons billionaire owner expects me to swallow a 127% price increase? Seriously? Does that still include my very own season ticket holder window decal, Arthur?
Come on, Arthur. $500 for 3 hours of entertainment? That’s $167/hour. And $1,000 of that is for the 2 meaningless, mostly boring, glorified practices called “pre-season games.” I could afford it, but I’m not shelling out $167/hour to watch a team who has had only 9 winning seasons in my 22 years as an ultra-loyal, season ticket holding fan!
…and now, the real rant
So good luck with the Atlanta Falcons, Arthur Blank. For the very first time in my business, hard-core-capitalist life, I feel genuine disgust with regard to a business owner. Only corporations will be able to afford most of the tickets. I hope those businesses give away tickets to people who decide it’s not worth the effort to actually show up at the game. Especially when they realize it’s another $25-50 to park. I hope the damn stadium is half empty. If the whole damn NFL implodes due to this sort of ego-driven, short-term-cash-chasing, my-jumbotron-is-bigger-than-your-jumbotron, crapola, I won’t miss it.
Grady High School’s football stadium is less than 2 miles from my house. The Grady Knights are my new favorite team. They’re playing for the love of the game – like I did.