Thursday, November 30, 2006

NFL Football Moving Away from Low-Income Fans

I have been watching a disturbing trend lately concerning the NFL. It seems that the NFL---in order to pay astronomical player and coach salaries---has been forced to seek new revenue streams.

The solution is to televise Monday Night Football on ESPN and, now, Thursday evening games on NFL Network.

I do not have ESPN and I do not have NFL Network, so I cannot watch these games. That's the thanks I get for being a loyal fan of the NFL my entire life (and occasionally buying its merchandise...hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts).

I'm curious to hear the thoughts of Ralph's readers. I see it as more evidence of the widening gap between those with plenty of disposable income and those without.

Any thoughts?



Anonymous said...

I actually agree. I'm a die-hard Steelers fan and think it is terrible that I can't get to watch next week's game in the comfort of my home.

And its funny...when the Thanksgiving game aired on the NFL Network, the local sports anchors (in Pgh) all made comments like, "In the game that no one watched" or "In case you aren't lucky enough to have the NFL Network..."

The sad part is that our society, in general, will flock to add the NFL Network in the coming years, rather than say "you know what, maybe we should boycot it and force a change in the NFL."

It is also making the NFL a more closed community. Do they recognize that fans make the league what it is???

Anonymous said...

You'd think with sky-high ticket prices, seat licenses and luxury boxes, they'd want more games on TV for people to watch. More games = more advertising they can sell, etc.

DocTorDee said...

Yeah, you'd think that they'd want to reach as many people as possible. That would be my strategy for world domination...I'd want everybody dialed in, not just a certain demographic.

But I guess I'm Olde School.


Ralph said...

Hey, I'm back in town. Apologize for not checking in, but Inernet access in Berlin was very limited, unless you wanted to pay out the ying-yang for it. As far as the NFL goes, I think we get enough games on "free" TV and in a free market, I don't think you can blame anyone for trying to make a few extra bucks.

I will say tha I didn't realize how much I missed the NFL - especially this time of year, when the teams have hit mid-season form, until I was in Germany for a week. One of the best parts of my trip was having three hours in the Detroit airport to drink a few beers and watch and talk football -even if it was the Lions - with other patrons. It just felt so good - for me at least, the NFL seems to represent one of the better things about being in America. Go figure...



DocTorDee said...

Yes, there are plenty of NFL games to watch on TV; however, this has to be intrepreted within a larger context: The gap between rich and poor in this country is increasing, and this is more evidence of this trend.

From Richard Reeves: "The rich are getting richer and richer...particularly if they are high corporate executives or major shareholders. Corporate profits increased from 17.7 percent in 2000 to 20.1 percent in 2005. The pay for corporate chief executives increased by 186 percent during the same period. The big bosses now make 262 times as much as the average of workers under them, compared with 24 times as much in the 1960s.

As economic growth reached or remained at healthy levels from 2.9 percent to 5.6 percent, median American household income actually dropped over the past five years. Unemployment stayed about the same, at 4.7 percent now. That is something new -- a boom without a bang -- and it's frightening for many.

In the past, as national productivity rose -- which it did by more than 16 percent in the past five years -- the paychecks of Americans used to rise because of their own sweat and ingenuity. Not true this time. Median income during the same period has decreased by 2.9 percent.

"The unprecedented split between growth and living standards is the defining economic agenda of the day," said Jared Bernstein, the senior economist of the Economic Policy Institute.

It is hardly a secret that many skilled and professional Americans have been fired, as it were, then given back their old jobs at reduced salaries and no benefits.

"The End of the American Dream?" was the headline used by the British Broadcasting Corp. story on those economic numbers released over the past few days. That is an exaggeration, I hope. The BBC's key line was: "The puzzle of economic expansion without significant job or wage growth has been troubling United States economists and commentators of all political persuasions. ... That marks a notable contrast with the 1990s, when the economic boom boosted both jobs and incomes."

Survival of the fittest, eh Ralph?

DocTorDee said...

Oh yes, I'm not trying to "blame" anybody. I will just continue to watch fewer and fewer games until I lose interest altogether.

That's what happened to me and baseball. I used to care...hell, I had season tickets to the Pirates.
But MLB has shit on the fans too many times.

I watch the World Series, but other than that, I don't care about professional baseball. They can shove it up their collective asses.

Ralph said...

Doktor Dee:

As far as this whole economic divide goes, I think with the latest elections, the system has corrected/is correcting itself. I'm a bit more at ease than I was six years ago when Herr Bush was about to enter office.

Just as a point of reference, despite your avowed (and many other people's as well), dissatisfaction with baseball, attendance continues to hit record numbers. I mean in the heyday of the game, back in the 50s for instance, it was a big thing to draw a million fans. Now, even the Pirates I think surpass that easily. I'm not sure what that all means...but another point I'll make about the NFL is that there are simply more games available through diverse channels than ever before. I think the number of Vikings games that you can watch on free TV is probably the same as it's always been - remember, the Monday night telecast is on ESPN, but the Sunday night games are now on NBC. I don't know why I feel the need to defend the "No Fun League," but I would have to say that Dec-Jan football may be the greatest game in the world - and if the Vikings start to play outdoors again, I guarantee you'll have a tough time totally giving up on them... as Denny Green wilts in the hot sun.


DocTorDee said...

I don't know if I'll ever give up on the NFL completely; however, I will be less avid.

For example, the Steelers play the Browns on Thursday. Normally, I would plan my night around the game. But since I can't watch it, I won't concern myself with it at all.

aybe the NFL doesn't care about fans like me, and that's fine, but it's kinda sad for me to lose interest in the Turnpike Rivalry.

Bring back Bud Grant and the Frozen Tundra!!!

Ralph said...

One final thought on this week's Browns/Steelers game, Bud Grant, the Frozen Tundra, et al: If Myron Cope was still around, the game would be well worth listenting too on the radio. Along these lines, the Bills announcing team of John Murphy and Mark Kelso does such an outstanding job, I really don't mind missing games on the tube. Plus, you can catch a lot of live action on the Internet as well. As I've said before, the days of broadcasting are rapidly being replaced by the new age of narrowcasting. How often do you listen to local radio stations anymore? Come on, Dr. Dee, it's not like you to get caught behind the times in the evolving world of media... oh, right, but you are Vikings fan :)


DocTorDee said...

Maybe I'm just looking for an excuse to stop devoting my Sundays (and Mondays and Thursdays) to sitting in front of the TV, watching football.

I'd rather be reading Joseph Campbell anyway.



Ralph said...

Now, you're getting it.


Ralph said...

You've got to be happy you didn't see the Vikings game yesterday...