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Thursday, February 3, 2011
NFL inspires next wave of ticket revenue

By Jim Caple
Page 2

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The NFL has sold Super Bowl tickets for $200 to watch Sunday's game on a video board set up outside the stadium -- and you had to buy them in strips of four for a total of $800. That's a lot of money, but think of it this way: It's just that much less money these fans will eventually owe their spouses when they're sued for divorce because they drained the children's college fund.

If selling tickets outside a stadium seems greedy, that's because it is. But it's not particularly surprising. A league that finely honed the art of charging people thousands of dollars for the "right" to buy tickets for hundreds of dollars more every season through the personal seat license is not going to lose sleep because it feels guilty about charging people to not attend a game inside a stadium.

In addition to prying more money from fans, the goal is to "break" the record of more than 103,000 for the largest crowd ever at a Super Bowl. And they would be able to raise that total even further if the roller coasters were running at nearby Six Flags amusement park.

It's a bogus way to increase official "attendance" but frankly, if there really are people willing to pay $200 to watch a game outside on TV, I'm surprised the NFL and other leagues hadn't considered this sort of thing earlier. In fact, Page 2 suspects many are already planning to cash in on this new revenue source.

Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are threatening to move unless every building tenant with a view through the holes in the Metrodome's roof pays $50,000 each season for the new "luxury suite," plus $100 for every person occupying the "suite" on game days.

New York Yankees: The Steinbrenners will start selling $30,000 personal seat licenses on the No. 4 subway train that passes Yankee Stadium.

Jacksonville Jaguars: To boost crowds, the team will start counting vendors, players, parking lot attendants, traffic patrolmen, homeless guys selling oranges and people listening to the game while driving past the stadium toward its total attendance figures.

Oklahoma City Thunder: In an attempt to fulfill remaining lease obligations in Seattle, Thunder owner Clay Bennett will charge fans a $20 inconvenience fee when they attend roller derbies and tractor pulls at the Sonics' old home, Key Arena.

Oakland Raiders: Al Davis hopes for a $100 million increase in annual revenue by selling season tickets to not see the Raiders at the Los Angeles Coliseum. He is also looking to see whether he can charge Irwindale fans to not attend Raiders games in the city's gravel pits.

Chicago Cubs: Those guys charging $100 and more to watch the Cubs games from the rooftops of surrounding buildings will now charge residents on lower floors, in apartments facing away from Wrigley Field and in the basement $30 per game because they can still hear the Cubs lose.

Dallas Cowboys: With the success of the outdoor Super Bowl seating, owner Jerry Jones is having the entire city of Arlington declared an official "Party Zone," thereby requiring all residents to pay $50 to watch the game on TVs in their living rooms, $25 for parking in their own garages and $10 for every beer they retrieve from their refrigerators.

And of course, all NFL teams will protect themselves from financial losses during a lockout by selling $1,000 season tickets to not watch the 2011 season, including the two preseason games they must buy even though they won't watch those either.

Jim Caple is a senior writer for ESPN.com. You can follow him on Twitter at jimcaple.


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