Friday, October 24, 2008

Blackout Hurting Fans More Than Ford

Seems like a lot of Lions’ fans are pleased Sunday’s game against the Redskins is blacked out on local television..
They want to punish owner William Clay Ford for all the years of losing caused by his poor decisions - particularly leaving Matt Millen in place for so long.
The Lions are awful, but who is the blackout really hurting? Not Ford. Yeah, it has some bearing on his bottom line, but not much. Ford has enough money to last a thousand lifetimes. The Lions are worth about two hundred times what he paid for the franchise ($4.5 million in 1964). This isn’t hurting him. It’s hurting the average fan, who is so used to watching Lions game on Sunday. The Lions may be bad, but they are part of the fabric of life in these part. They will be missed on TV Sunday.
It also hurts the NFL’s television ratings in the 10th largest market in the nation. What for? The ticket revenue of 5,000? It’s a drop in the bucket compared to the exposure the NFL is giving up with the blackout.
The NFL’s local blackout rule is outdated. It comes from a time when the NFL relied much more on ticket revenue. With such a large pie shared equally from national television revenues, the NFL is actually hurting itself more than anything else by blacking out this game - and any others.
Even in other sports, they don’t blackout games locally anymore. And when they did, look at the adverse ramifications it had on the Chicago Blackhawks up until last year, and how things got better for that NHL franchise when they did cut the blackouts.

Random Thoughts

- I think Michigan will cover the spread, but Michigan State will win the game. The only thing that would surprise me is if the game is a blowout either way.

- The Red Wings better start think about signing Johan Franzen long-term now. He is quickly proving what he did late last season and during the playoffs was no fluke.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Marty said...

Pat,

I agree that the blackout rule is antiquated, but I do see something good about it. It forces owners to price the Tickets so that they are affordable to enough fans that they will fill the stadium. this is because the team loses a whole lot more money if the game isn't televised than if they get a higher profit on ticket sales. Also, it helps force the owners to try to keep a competitive team on the field. this is because, if the team isn't fun to watch, people aren't going to go out of their way to attend the game, and you will again lose a heck of a lot of money when the game isn't televised.

At least that is my take on the benefits of the Blackout rule. It helps keep the product good for the masses, which helps the league as a whole. Even if it is only indirectly.

-Marty

2:08 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Marty,
That is true. The Lions made a mistake by raising ticket prices before this season and got more season packages dropped than they anticipated. But look at who really pays the price for this? There will likely be less people employed by Ford Field during the remaining games and the businesses around the stadium will suffer as well. More bad than good.
Caputo

2:29 PM 
Blogger D_Fenner said...

Pat,

I agree with you on Franzen. He could easily score 35 goals this year with this much talent around him. I'm curious to hear how you think the Wings should prioritize all their pending free agents this offseason? I think Zetterberg and Franzen have to be 1a and 1b, but that still leaves Samuelsson, Hudler (RFA), Kopecky (RFA), and Hossa (Holland still seems to think its possible we sign him longterm). I'd probably let Hudler go elsewhere. Ville Leino seems like he could easily replace Jiri's production.

- Dan Fenner

3:02 PM 
Blogger Pat Caputo said...

Dan Fenner,
Hudler and Samuelsson would be the leading candidates to go, but there is one thing that could change that. Babcock thinks a lot of Sammuelson. It's not just Leino, either. Helm should be with the big team right now, too.
Caputo

3:12 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The less people that attend the games the stronger a message it sends to Ford to fix the organization. I also agree that the rule on television blackouts is outdated. Die hard Lions fans will just have to listen to the game on the radio.

Tim

6:02 AM 

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