NFL Fans Should Be Heard
With all the talk of voting concerning a new National Football League labor agreement, the 2012 election campaign came a year earlier it seems.
Two parties bickering back and forth, all while forgetting the very people who make them what they are. Sound familiar?
In the meantime, the chains remain on NFL facilities after the key figures needed the weekend to try and end a lockout sidelining the nation's top contact and impact sport.
True, the owners passed their vote for a new collective bargaining agreement in unanimous fashion on Thursday. The players peered through the paperwork the last two days, hopeful of getting a majority vote needed to strike a long-awaited deal allowing the sport to resume without the loss of any regular season games.
But while the owners and players spent the past four months apart on a new labor agreement during the lockout, somebody forgot to
contact the people who
impact the game perhaps the most -- the public -- and get their vote. Remember them, the ones largely responsible for making the NFL a $9 billion juggernaut?
Believe it or not, the public possesses the wild card in how the lockout plays out, even when the teams open the gates again for regular operations as scheduled. No business prospers without its consumers. Demand drives revenue, and never before has the NFL been as popular as now.
Fantasy football attracts casual and serious fans alike, many willing to dole out anywhere from $100-200 on average to compete in pay-for-play leagues.
Fans also delve deep in their pockets just to attend a game, now at an average price of nearly $80. Not to mention $50 or more on the average for jerseys and parking, and $300-plus to watch DirecTV's Sunday Ticket.
Many blame the billionaire owners, who under the bill they passed will now get six more percent of the revenues after a previous 50-50 split, not to mention the stash collected off television cash and off-the-top dough.
Some place the blame on the players as well. After all, they work for the owners and have a bargaining power unlike the vast majority of working Americans while working less than half the year.
But when it comes down to it, the public puts up the funds, the lack of which shuts the doors on the mutli-billion dollar industry it created. Just look at how the thought of losing one week's worth of preseason games, costing involved parties a reported $200 million, sped up the process.
Football fanatics go without football for most of the winter and all of spring and summer, and then seemingly can't live without it the next four months. Too bad the league uses that factor to drag out a debate in the first place, that of dividing billions of dollars while the average fan makes a sizeable sacrifice just to watch a game in person, view it on television, or wear their favorite team's colors.
printed a story recently saying how sports analysts predicted the NFL "will immediately settle back into its role as the country's most popular sport"
"Let's face it: These were not five critical months to [the league]," David Carter, the executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute, told the
. "There'll be no fewer people painting their faces, no fewer people tailgating, no falloff in attendance or in the attention and notoriety for the league. No barbecues have been canceled, no gameday activities at your favorite tavern have been postponed. None of those important touchpoints for fans have been compromised."
The lockout likely would've ended quickly with fans sitting at the bargaining table, or doing the voting. With all the money they spend, the least they could have is a voice.
The NFL banks on hearing their voice, alright, just screaming at jam-packed stadiums and at television screens.
In the end, the only voting poll that matters in professional football is the poll ranking fantasy players and teams in order. No need for a vote after all. The NFL wins in a landslide.