Fans were allowed to attend Super Bowl Media Day for the first time yesterday with some buyers “paying more than $350 on the secondary market” for a $25 ticket, according to Anthony Schoettle of the INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL. The NFL “limited attendance to 7,300 fans.” Fans were given radios “with six channels to hear comments from the most prominent players and coaches.” Attendees also were “able to tune into the NFL Network’s coverage of the event on their radios.” The stadium's large video monitors were “streaming footage from six podiums at one time, and fans had the option of tuning into whichever of those players they liked.” Schoettle noted the “biggest cheer came when Eli Manning took the field to answer questions” (IBJ.com, 1/31). Giants President & CEO John Mara said of media day, “I can think of more exciting ways to spend the day. But the fans seem to be enjoying it very much. Not many have left. We will have to consider discussing how else we can involve the fans in these kinds of events.” In N.Y., Bill Pennington notes there was “a public address announcer working the floor of the stadium, occasionally giving commentary to the day’s events.” Fans seemed “most interested in quietly listening to the players having unedited conversations.” John Kanis, a fan who drove the nearly two hours from Cincinnati, said, “I wanted to get a taste of the Super Bowl and I wasn’t spending $2,500 on a ticket. For $25, that’s a good business deal” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/1). ESPN's Adam Schefter said, "The one thing that’s a hallmark of Roger Goodell’s job as commissioner is looking for ways to innovate and change and improve the game, and the NFL found one today" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/31).
MEDIA MONITORS: In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino writes the fans “appeared to be having a good time and cheered on occasion when a player was flashed on the scoreboard but generally quietly watched the activity.” It will be “interesting to see if the fans will be as eager to buy tickets for Media Day next year in New Orleans, which has been a frequent Super Bowl site” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION 2/1). "The Dan Patrick Show's" Paul Pabst said, “This was a good step. ... They didn’t let the fans down on the field to ask questions because that would have been kind of messy, but it was a good crowd, people were having a good time” ("Chicago Tribune Live," Comcast SportsNet Chicago, 1/31). In Pittsburgh, Bob Smizik writes, “I thought I had seen everything in terms of sports ticket sales, but people willing to pay $25 to watch media day at the Super Bowl is a new high -- or low. And that’s not a knock at the NFL. If there are people willing to pay, by all means charge” (POST-GAZETTE.com, 2/1). In Toronto, Mike Rutsey wonders, “Why anyone would bother to watch reporters mill around and toss out questions -- none of which could be heard by the fans -- is beyond me. Why they would pay ... for the right is something of a sanity test” (TORONTO SUN, 2/1). ESPN’s Michael Wilbon said he had no problem with selling tickets to the event "if people want to be dopey enough to just go and look at guys on the screen or see them talk to people, and people are." Wilbon: "Americans will go in huge numbers to a stadium. They can sell 80,000 tickets next year at a $100 a pop because people will go watch NFL players in a uniform take a nap on a circle on the field. ... I'm surprised somebody didn't already think of this" ("PTI," ESPN, 1/31).
SCOUTING COMBINE NEXT? In L.A., Sam Farmer reports the NFL is “considering a similar arrangement for the scouting combine in late February.” Mara said, "I think that's worthy of a discussion. Our biggest struggle with the combine is trying to get as many of the players as possible to actually compete, and do the drills, and to run and everything. Whether this would encourage that, I don't know. I think there's a feeling that if it would encourage it, then maybe we'd consider doing it" (L.A. TIMES, 2/1).
EUROPEAN VACATION: Colts Owner Jim Irsay Monday alluded that the NFL may consider playing Super Bowl L, the 50th anniversary of the game, in London in '16. ESPN’s Tony Kornheiser said, “If you put the Super Bowl there, 50,000 American fans will still be there. ... It makes more sense to put the Super Bowl there than a regular-season game, which makes no sense whatsoever." ESPN's Wilbon said the NFL “is always looking for new ... revenue streams, and so you get it overseas, you try to put your print there.” However, the one thing the NFL has been “unable to do is force interest on other countries" (“PTI,” ESPN, 1/31). Denver Post columnist Woody Paige said he would “absolutely” be in favor of London hosting the Super Bowl. Paige: “Let me mention some cities: Jacksonville, Detroit, Minneapolis, Indianapolis. Of course you put it over in London and let the Europeans and people from all around the world go to the game. ... We have to spread this game throughout the world and this is the way to do it.” But columnist Kevin Blackistone called the idea “ridiculous.” Blackistone: “Is the EPL going to play their championship over here? The FA Cup, is that coming over here? Of course not.” ESPN’s J.A. Adande wondered why the NFL is “concerned about the Europeans being able to enjoy the game?" Adande: "What about the fans of the actual teams participating?" ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 1/31).