NFL Lockout Watch, Day 11: Teams Explain Demand For Season-Ticket Payments
Patriots President Jonathan Kraft, when asked why the team is requiring season-ticket renewals "for 2011 to be paid in full by March 31 even though there is a lockout," yesterday said the team has always "had March 31 as our deadline since we moved to" Gillette Stadium, according to Shalise Manza Young of the BOSTON GLOBE. Kraft: "In order to get the renewal process done and then to handle the upgrades as well as moving people off the season-ticket waiting list, and then print the tickets that are personalized by account, and to have it in people’s hands by the beginning of July, we actually needed to stay with that date. It’s not something where you can just decide in the middle of August, ‘Oh, we’re going to have a season,’ and send out an invoice" (BOSTON GLOBE, 3/22). The Steelers also decided to keep "the same routine of requesting deposits of season-ticket holders," and team President Art Rooney II said, "We just decided we were going to go business as usual with tickets. The only thing we did different is we said with our renewal that if a game gets canceled we'll give you a refund. Everything is the same as we've always done it. We have to prepare as if the season's going to happen. There's no other way to do it" (PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE, 3/22). In San Diego, Kevin Acee notes the Chargers also "will not alter" their "payment policy for season tickets in the face of games potentially being lost to a lockout." Chargers Exec VP A.G. Spanos: "We worked hard ... coming up with a plan that would be fair to season ticket holders" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 3/22).
NOT WHY HE JOINED UP: Dolphins Owner Stephen Ross yesterday said the issues being discussed at the ongoing owners' meetings in New Orleans are not his "idea of ownership." Ross said, "Obviously the worst situation is no season at all, but as you push it back, even now people aren’t buying tickets at the same rate they were in the past, people are waiting to see, a lot of people are, so it has an impact. It will have an impact with sponsors" Ross added, "You cannot have a business where you pay players, as a percentage of the gross income. Anyone who has been in business who has worked for everybody, you don’t pay players a percentage of the gross. ... You can’t pay them a percentage of the revenue, 'hey you get 60% and we get all the expenses,' and then try to make money from that, I mean, it wouldn’t work" (MIAMIDOLPHINS.com, 3/21). In Ft. Lauderdale, Omar Kelly noted Ross "spen roughly 20 minutes talking with Commissioner Roger Goodell on Sunday, discussing the numerous issues one-on-one" (SUN-SENTINEL.com, 3/21).
EXECS SPEAK OUT: ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas noted Buccaneers co-Chair Joel Glazer was "animated and happy" and "almost effervescent" during a 20-minute one-on-one interview on Sunday. Glazer said, "I couldn't be more excited about where this team is at. When we set out on this path two years ago, there was a plan in place." Glazer noted the team's new ticket sales in January, February and March "have been stronger than I ever remember them being." The Buccaneers won 10 games last season after only winning 3 the season before, and Glazer said, "Renewals are extremely high. The sense you get is that the community is reacting to what they saw last year." He added, "Even before the season ended, we sat down and we started to change our pricing to reflect the economy and what's going on and trying to find ways to make something available for everybody. The one thing that hasn't been lost on us is Florida has been hit very hard" (ESPN.com, 3/21). Meanwhile, in St. Louis, Jim Thomas notes there has been speculation that Rams Owner Stan Kroenke "will hire a team president, or similarly titled executive, to oversee operations at Rams Park on a daily basis." However, Kroenke yesterday said that "any changes in the front office at Rams Park are on hold for obvious reasons." Kroenke: "Right now we're not hiring because we're in this lockout" (ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH, 3/22).