Ticket pricing increases in the NFL is nothing new. For that matter, as a Saints season ticket holder, my ticket prices went up about $15 per ticket this season. It’s not unusual for such things to happen this time of year when invoices begin to leave the team headquarters. Another team that raised ticket prices this year were the Detroit Lions (apparently as Lions and Saints fans, the teams are trying to punish Alex and I with more than just bad play).
The Lions reasoning behind their ticket price increase? So that the team can field a competitive roster. According to Lions President Rod Wood, the team won’t be able to “compete nationally with other teams that have more resources…”
While that line of thinking isn’t wrong in general, it is also a joke when it comes to the Lions, or any NFL team’s, ability to compete. Thanks to some more-than-generous television contracts, each team is guaranteed to receive an equal amount of money every year that would make most billionaires blush. Yes, some teams make more off ticket and various merchandise sales, but this is a fraction of what they receive from their broadcast partners.
In 2014, Lions tickets cost an average of about $83. A 4.1% increase last year, followed by the aforementioned increase this year, means that ticket prices are now around $94 on average at this point (but lets call it $100 for math’s sake). Ford Field’s seating capacity is listed at 65,000, meaning each game brings in roughly $6.5M (assuming a sell-out of course). For a 10-game season, that’s $65M. Not too shabby. But the reality is that this year’s increase will bring in only about $4M+ extra.
Now, again, don’t get me wrong. $4M+ is far from anything to sneeze at. But NFL teams are splitting more than $7B (billion, with a capital “B”) amongst 32 teams. Meaning each team is getting roughly $226M per season from television contracts, with that amount only going to rise in the coming seasons. In other words, the Lions’ ability to compete has nothing to do with ticket prices.
Could the Lions extra income ultimately mean more perks for the team facilities or elsewhere that may bring in better players? Perhaps a few, but let’s not kid ourselves here. The Lions ability to compete is in no way tied to their ticket pricing. Shame on the Lions and Rob Ford trying to tell us otherwise.