There’s one thing we’re sure of: NFL fans are less happy right now than they were a year ago.
Or maybe the fans are unhappy — but they aren’t going away. Daniel Kaplan of the Sports Business Journal reports that the “NFL [is] ahead of last year’s pace for season ticket sales despite the lockout.”
Kaplan also reports that the league is considering “changes to blackout policy.”
Let’s address the ticket sales issue first. Because, frankly, that seems absolutely impossible, given that there is no promise of football in 2011.
Of course, it’s always easier to sell tickets when you a) start selling them sooner and b) provide an earlier cutoff for season-ticket holders to renew; I believe the NFL used both practices this offseason.
This news is surprising given that Roger Goodell recently took to the podium and pointed out that business across the NFL is down, and that the league is absolutely seeing the impact of the lockout on season-ticket sales.
This is the likely logic for the phrase “on pace.” It’s good news for some clubs if their sales are exceeding the sales from this point last year. And even if it’s good news for the league as a whole, some teams must be suffering a negative impact.
What will really matter is where these numbers are in August, when the season is about to — or, should I say supposed to — start.
Because if there’s no football, there’s no amount of sold tickets that will justify the problem facing the NFL.