Friday, July 16, 2010

The NFL Ticket Sales Problem

Now, this is a much more widespread problem than many want to believe. For bigger teams, this is a non-issue. But even the Jets had trouble selling PSL´s in their new digs. Now, you may be thinking this is a rant on the Jags ticket selling issues. It is, a bit, so if you don´t want to read that part, skip over this next paragraph. This is a wake-up call to all who don´t know this exists, and it´s way more than just Jacksonville.

The Jaguars ticket selling issues are now national news. Last year´s 9 out of 10 game blackouts, plus desperate promotions have fueled up rumors that the Jags are hitting the U-Haul´s to LA. This annoys me. Not that the Jags can´t sell tickets, that is another issue, but how much press it´s getting. People love to write hate for the team because of the teal in the stands, not on the field. And that is weird, because despite the fact that the Jags only sold out 1 game last year, 2 other teams had worse average attendance. Granted, the Lions and Raiders were both bad, but this issue is looked upon like it´s only the Jaguars who have had problems. But it truly isn´t. Many more teams have had this issue last year, and this year. Let me explain.

San Diego is another prime example. AFC West champs, but barely averting blackout deadlines every week. They´re a great team, and yet they have had trouble selling out their stadium for the past 2 years. Cincinnati had trouble selling out games last year as well, and they were AFC North Champs. And, the Bengals ticket manager Andrew Brown says his team, and most others, are concerned about ticket sales. Buffalo another, who may have more than one blackout this year, and this doesn´t even mention the fact they play one game in Toronto every year. And the Tampa Bay Bucs, a bad team granted, according to a report, have more than 20,000 unsold tickets and are well on their way to blackouts. It´s not just the Jags, it´s a league wide issue. Add that on to a prospect of no games next autumn, and it becomes a big headache for the league.

I´m not going to mention anybody specifically whose made this issue more transparent than any other on the field story (you know who you are though), but they are right, to a point. It´s a big problem, but it isn´t just Jacksonville´s it´s a league wide problem. And you want a team in LA you say? They had 2 teams, and couldn´t keep either because of ticket sales and blackout problems. Forget the stadiums. Before the league even thinks about moving a team, fix the ticket sale issue. Many fans are worried about a lockout next year, so try to fix it, and it may put fans in the stands. Lower prices, that would definitely help in this economy. But, to fix it, you must stop saying that the only problem is in Jacksonville, and it´s not. They have about 5700 tickets left to sell, and you may think that is a lot, but compared to 15000, it´s cat scratch.

This is a problem every one should know about, and that is the first way to fix it. Lower ticket prices, and the chain will begin. But remember, it´s not only Jacksonville´s problem, it´s everyone´s, and that can´t be stated enough.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The End Has Come (Finally)

The Lebroncalypse has finally happened. The Cavs are sunk, while their owner popped a gasket. The Knicks are still blindly optimistic. The Bulls are, one Carlos Boozer better. And the Nets still have an owner whose pockets are lined with gold. While the Heat, have overnight become a title favorite for the foreseeable future.

This decision for Lebron was very tough. To stay at home, or to move onto greener, or sandier pastures. He chose the sand. I think the 2008 Olympic experience had done wonders for him with Dwanye Wade and Chris Bosh. When those 2 had signed with the Heat, it looked almost certain Lebron was destined for South Beach. And, he was, making ESPN 1 for 4 this free agency period in guessing where players will go (for the record, Chris Broussard thought D-Wade was going to the Bulls). But, now that the apocalypse in NBA terms has happened, what impact has it left on the NBA?

In Miami, boy has it made things different. They are now, without a shadow of a doubt the best team in the Eastern Conference. They are very much in line for a chance at the Lakers in the Finals next year. Oddly enough, Erik Spoelstra, the current coach, may be on his way out for no good reason, other than to have Pat Riley coach once again. Isn´t this the 3rd time he´s done this? Anyway, he´s built a dynasty in the matter of 2 nights, and is well on his way to bringing the Larry O´Brien trophy to the hungry sports audience of Miami.

In Cleveland, he himself has thrown the franchise into disarray. He´s sent the owner down a bad road to calling him out for numerous things, saying "He quit. Not just in game 5, but in games 2,4 and 6. Watch the tape." Whoa buddy. Dan Gilbert, you just called out one of the best players in the NBA for quitting. How noble of you. He went onto say "LeBron James needs to go to another team with two superstars already so he can win a championship..." That´s true, but he needs to win championships to expand his brand across the world. Sure, it will tarnish his legacy a bit, but that hasn´t stopped Brett Favre from the shtick he´s been pulling for the past 3 summers, right? Sure, these are 2 different cases, but Lebron did what he wanted to do, go to a place where he can win right away. I thought he should have stayed with the Cavs, but if they couldn´t provide what he wanted, then he had the right to leave, even if it was "betrayal". Mr. Gilbert finished his unrecognized by the NBA statement by saying (Caps not added in by me), "I PERSONALLY GUARANTEE THAT THE CLEVELAND CAVALIERS WILL WIN AN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP BEFORE THE SELF-TITLED FORMER 'KING' WINS ONE." Yeah, and Cleveland hasn´t been suffering for the past 62 years, so keep your guarantees to yourself.

For the Knicks, Bulls, and Nets, they probably feel sad that they couldn´t get one of the big 3 in the free agent crop, but have each done great jobs trying to get better without them. The Knicks have Amare, Bulls have Boozer, and the Nets got a great player in Derrick Favors. Yeah, you may not win a title for 6 years, but at least, for the Knicks and Nets, you´re not a laughing stock anymore. And don´t forget Chris Berman´s classic phrase "That´s why the play the games."

To conclude, the NBA landscape has changed dramatically in the past 2 nights, with ESPN and the Miami Heat reaping the benefits. Lebron has done what he had to do to expand his brand, and get closer to winning championships. And, that´s it. Cleveland may feel betrayed, but that is what sports are about with free agency. The Cavs did all they could, but the hometown boy has left for the sands of South Beach. While Cleveland´s sports misery continues, Miami´s may be wiped out in a matter of the tip of the new season, with the new, bigger, and possible better, Big 3.