The plague of empty seats just keeps spreading and spreading across the NFL. Next up, the Baltimore Ravens:
Thousands of fans are trying to resell their tickets to the sold-out game Sunday against the Detroit Lions at 71,000-seat M&T Bank Stadium via Ticketmaster, the team’s official resale outlet, or StubHub. Seats were available this week in almost every section; an $80 ticket for an upper end zone seat could be had for as little as $29…
“The Ravens are finding themselves in the same situation as a lot of NFL teams this year,” said T.J. Brightman, president of A. Bright Idea, a public relations and marketing firm with offices in Bel Air and California. “There is a disengagement by fans across the country stemming from the daily and weekly stories the NFL league office confronts.”
Brightman, and the Baltimore Sun, blame a laundry list of those “daily and weekly stories,” including: national anthem protests, revelations of traumatic brain injuries as a standard consequence of playing the sport, injuries to key players, ticket resale sites, and hi-def TVs. And if some of that doesn’t particularly make sense (TV ratings are down because more people are staying home to watch TV?), everyone is just throwing guesses at the wall right now, cut them some slack.
The photos available on the Sun site don’t actually show the wide swathes of empty seats that other teams have seen, and fans reselling their seats for a crappy game at a discount is nothing new to sports. Still, it’s an indication that Ravens ticket demand is softening, and the next step after this would be people just buying fewer tickets in the first place. It’ll be another few years before we really have enough data points to tell where this is headed, but let’s just say if you had your money on “football will be the new boxing in our lifetimes,” you’ve got to be feeling pretty good about that bet right now.