SBD/Issue 242/Franchises

Lions Optimistic That They Will Sell Out Games This Season

Ford Jr. Offering Hope Fans Will
See Home Games On Television
Lions Vice Chair Bill Ford Jr. yesterday "promised sellouts for many of the games at Ford Field this season, offering hope that fans will see home games on television," according to Gregg Krupa of the DETROIT NEWS. Speaking at the 13th Annual Detroit Lions Kickoff Lunch, Ford noted that the event was sold out and said, "Get used to it, because it will be the first of many sellouts at Ford Field, this season. We know the economy is difficult and we have to fight for your attention. I know our fans are ready for a turnaround and they deserve it. They are the greatest fans in the world." Krupa notes speculation and "private conversations circulate around the league the Lions are among several teams in the NFL who may face some blackouts." But Lions Senior VP/Communications Bill Keenist said "there's still 10 days to go to sell tickets" before the season begins. Keenist: "We're not going to give out any more information until next week" (DETROIT NEWS, 9/3).

NOT ON THE LIST: In Denver, Mike Klis reports every Broncos game this season is "guaranteed to be televised," and thus the team is "not on the NFL's Endangered Dozen Blackout List." Broncos Exec Dir of Ticket Operations Kirk Dyer: "We will be sold out. We're in great shape." Klis notes the team has "316 consecutive regular-season and playoff sellouts, stretching back 40 years," and a "season-ticket waiting list of 30,000 people" (DENVER POST, 9/3).

TIME FOR A CHANGE? In K.C., Martin Manley wrote by "refusing to augment" their policy on blackouts, the NFL has "effectively snubbed their nose at the fan." Manley: "It's obvious the NFL hasn't felt (or at least recognized) the economic slowdown. ... They don't believe they have anything to fix" (KANSASCITY.com, 9/2). CSN Mid-Atlantic’s Ivan Carter said, “While it is true that the NFL is the monster of all sports leagues right now, it is also true that people are hurting in these tough economic times. Given that the league and the players could be looking at a PR nightmare when the new labor agreement is hammered out in two years, it might be wise to make as many fan-friendly moves as possible.” Carter: “If the NFL’s not careful, it may discover that its biggest problem isn’t blackouts, but rather its own fans tuning out” (“Washington Post Live,” CSN Mid-Atlantic, 9/2). BLOOMBERG NEWS’ Scott Soshnick writes NFL Owners are “callous and clueless, so in the dark about the average fan’s struggle to make ends meet it’s no wonder they back blackouts over bailouts.” Football fans “will suffer the blackouts, but it’s the owners who are in the dark” (BLOOMBERG NEWS, 9/3).

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