I was browsing my favorite NFL propaganda website today when I saw the devastating news: USA Today Reports NFL Attendance for Third Consecutive Season. This was incredible because it suggests that the NFL may actually function like other businesses and see lower revenues during a very weak economy. Or worse, maybe the NFL is on shaky economic ground all by itself. If that were the case, then NFL owners would have a real case in the ongoing negotiations for a new collective bargaining agreement that they should be paying players less and have an "enhanced" season.
I needed to learn more about this dire business climate that the NFL owners are facing, so I clicked through to the actual USA Today story. This is when it starts to get interesting.
Reading the story sheds some light on what it is the USA Today is actually reporting. The headline on the NFLlabor site hints that the USA Today had done some economic analysis or at least interviewed some independent analysts. Not so. The USA Today article was an interview with NFL executive Eric Grubman. So the only source of the expected decline in ticket sales that the NFL is screaming about on its' propaganda site, is the NFL itself.
That would be just a case of a sloppy pr stunt, except that the USA Today did do some actual reporting that helps put that decline into context. During the 2009-10 season, ticket sales were apparently down 2.4%, double what was projected for the upcoming season. The NFL also saw a total increase in ticket prices of 3.9%. So in the face of the worst economy the NFL has ever seen, they raised ticket prices by 3.9% which translates into a total revenue increase of 1.4%.
So I find myself totally agreeing with Michael Wilbon as I watch PTI "The NFL is King"..."The NFL has nothing to worry about" Except perhaps that their attempts to cry poor entering the CBA negotiations will likely fall flat.