Money never seems to be a problem for the NFL these days. The league renewed its broadcast contracts recently for a notable increase in revenue. A labor deal signed last summer has given the league a decade of certainty with its largest group of employees, though peace seems elusive. Yet, the NFL has a problem: fewer and fewer fans are coming to the stadiums to watch games these days.
Viewership is reaching record levels, but overall attendance figures have declined by 4.5 percent since 2007, a period which also coincides with a recession that you may have heard about. In an effort to reverse the trend and encourage fans to drop some of their disposable income on football games, the league is taking some steps to enhance the experience.
Wireless internet is coming to all NFL stadiums. So are smart phone apps that will allow fans to listen to players who are mic'd up during the game, according to the Wall Street Journal. Instant replays, the same ones the refs are looking at, will also be seen in the stadium.
Of course, the real trick for teams might be ticket prices, especially when the cost of experiencing games at home with family and friends is relatively inexpensive. The average NFL ticket price has climbed from $72.20 to $77.34 between 2008 and the 2011 season. Add in average prices for parking ($25.77), hot dogs ($4.77) and a cold beer ($7.20), and it makes a trip to the game a pricey endeavor for fans, especially as wages continue to stay flat.
Watch to see what happens with attendance this season. If the trend continues, expect the NFL to take things a step further the next season.