Updated: Sep 10
I wasn’t always into football. Like pretty much every kid in Europe growing up, I was obsessed with soccer. But then one day, I realized that there was a more exciting sport out there. A sport that at the professional level, is run by a league that embraces rules that allow for an even playing field. Where it makes no difference how much revenue each club produces or how rich each team’s owner is; no monetary competitive advantage is given.
This is such a refreshing concept. And it is one of the main reasons that the NFL is gaining so much momentum around the world. The parity created by the salary cap gives fans of every team hope every new season and in turn makes them want to continuously invest in their team emotionally and financially, year after year.
But as the NFL enters this season fully aware that profits will be massively impacted, what the owners need to keep in mind is that the bigger prize in all of this, is not necessarily reducing losses but, that this this carefully crafted multi-billion dollar business emerges on the other side with fans equally as invested as they have been in previous seasons.
Whilst some teams have already declared that there will be no one in the stands, whether for a portion or for the entirety of the season, others have gone on record to state that there will be varied numbers of fans at home games.
One could argue that a stadium at merely 25% capacity would not give a team a competitive advantage. Having said that, it is odd that a league that is obsessed with integrity and which claims to be intent on eliminating anything that could tilt the scale in favor of any team, to then allow clubs to make decisions on whether to admit fans or not, be controlled only by local government rules and regulations. This is after all the same League that obsessed over a couple of PSIs in the inflation of footballs a few years ago.
It is fully understandable that the owners of these businesses will look for each and every opportunity to improve the bottom line in what is to be a year with severely reduced revenues. It does however seem extremely short sighted to do so by accruing a minimal increase in ticket sales and concessions when you take under consideration that results on the field this season will not just produce a deserved or not champion but, will also have future ramifications such as draft positioning.
We all want to experience football this season. We need football as a distraction more than ever. But even more than that, fans of every team, wherever we may be, need to come out of this year not feeling like we have lost something.