The NFL recorded its lowest ever attendance levels in 2011, the lowest since 1998. A post from 2012 showed that a 782,499 people attendance drop from 2007 and 2011 equated to roughly $60 million in lost revenue.
Even the NCAA’s (college football) attendance was healthier than the NFL’s in the 2013 season. The NCAA recorded a record breaking stat for their 2013 season of 50.3 million people attending, with an overall attendance of over 97%.
There is nothing better than watching a sports event live with your friends and family, so…
Why are people not going to games?
In a post written by a Washington Redskins fan titled, ‘Why I Gave Up My NFL Season Tickets‘, he talks about the reasons why he didn’t renew his season membership with the team. He talks about getting to the stadium, costs of things on game day, and his requirement for family friendly sections.
“Unfortunately, our game-day experiences were far from perfect … our drive to Landover, normally a half-hour, could take between two and three hours before we got to a parking spot.
The tickets were not cheap, with a pair of upper-level seats running me more than $1,500 for the season. The Redskins don’t make it easy, offering payment plans only for their premium tickets. Game-day expenses can add up too: $30 for parking, $10 for a small pizza, $5 for a soda.
Home and visiting fans alike made my seats more like prime viewing at a keg party than the NFL experience of my youth. There was absolutely no filter to the profanity they were using. It’s my belief that children should learn cursing the old-fashioned way—on the playground from their friends.“
Commenters joined in with their opinions on the piece talking about their preference for watching the games at home, prices, drunk fans and one even recommended taking the family to another sport!
“I’ve got this awesomely massive HD TV, which cost less than one nose-bleed season ticket … I own the comfiest couch on the planet … A 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke costs $1 at the store … No lines for bathrooms… You could not PAY me to attend an NFL game.”
“If you want a true family experience, take the wife and kids to any MLB spring training venue.“
“Tickets ($), parking ($), food ($), drunk fans, weather conditions, travel time, restricted view, rising prices. Why?”
To fix the problem
Here are a few things NFL teams are trying to bump up their attendance levels for 2014 and future seasons.
VIP – Something for the VIPs
The Jacksonville Jaguars have added something exclusively for the VIP customer, poolside cabanas. The ticket costs $250 and they can enjoy food and beverages on an all-inclusive basis, with TVs and furniture built for lounging by the pool overlooking the pitch.
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS – Watch highlights of other games on the stadium Wifi
Stadium apps for the Chiefs, 49ers, Philadelphia Eagles, and many other teams allow fans to stream the NFL Red Zone Channel (specialty of showing every scoring play throughout the league) while they’re inside stadiums, and utilising the stadium Wifi network connectivity.
LOYALTY PLANS – Gain loyalty points and get visited by two cheerleaders
Atlanta Falcons have a loyalty program for season ticket holders called “Memories,” in which fans accumulate points by doing things like renewing ticket packages early and paying in full in advance. The perk that’s getting the most attention is a new one, which allows fans to order a seat-side visit from a pair of Atlanta Falcons cheerleaders.
MOBILE APPS – Help with parking, directions to seats, fast routes bathrooms, & order + pay for food from your seat
The 49ers’ app is currently the most feature filled experience enhancer at the Levi’s Stadium, providing all of the features mentioned above. The New England Patriots also has an app that lets spectators check out estimated wait times at stadium restrooms and offers updates on traffic and parking at the Gillette Stadium.