SBD/Issue 244/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL Expects Per-Game Attendance To Drop To Lowest Levels Since '98

NFL Average Game Attendance Expected To
Fall To Lowest Level Since '98 Season

NFL Exec VP/Ventures & Business Eric Grubman said that the league "expects overall attendance to drop for the third straight season" this year, and for average game attendance to fall "to its lowest levels since the 1998 season," according to Michael McCarthy of USA TODAY. Grubman predicted that overall ticket sales "will drop 1% to 2% this season," and that total season-ticket sales "will be down even more, about 5%." However, Grubman "expects many clubs to make up that shortfall by selling more single-game tickets, partial season ticket packages and more tickets in the secondary resale market." McCarthy noted the NFL during the '07 season, "when the recession began," posted a "record high of 17.4 million in ticket sales, and 67,755 in average game attendance." But the numbers have "declined every season since that high-water mark," and last season ticket sales "dropped 2.6% to 16.7 million, while game attendance slid 2.4% to 65,043." Grubman said that a problem for the NFL is that the "live game experience is competing with the increasingly more high-tech home viewing experience." That has "made TV a huge bright spot for the NFL," which last season "drew its biggest audiences in 20 years" (, 9/1).

FINDING A LOOPHOLE? The AP's Joseph White cited a source as indicating that the NFLPA is "looking into whether trades made by" the Redskins, Rams, Eagles and Cardinals this week are "attempts to avoid paying money into a rookie pool." The Redskins Monday traded sixth-round draft pick TE Dennis Morris to the Rams for a conditional, undisclosed draft pick, and the Rams traded fifth-round pick DE Hall Davis to the Redskins, "also for a conditional, undisclosed pick." Redskins coach Mike Shanahan at the time said that Morris was "traded because he wasn't going to make the 53-man roster," but the Redskins cut Davis "after one practice." White noted under CBA rules, if a drafted rookie is "cut by the team that drafted him, that team is required to pay 85% of that player's salary into a rookie pool" (AP, 9/1).

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