The NFL has fallen on hard times, so much so that tickets to one game are going for as low as $5.
According to resale ticket broker Vivid Seats, you can get a seat at today’s Indianapolis Colts vs. Buffalo Bills game for fivebucks. For roughly the cost of a gallon of milk, you can get a ticket to an NFL game. Five years ago that would have been unheard-of.
To be fair, we’re talking about nosebleed seats at a game between two mediocre teams; the Colts are 3-9 and are all but out of postseason contention, while the hometown Bills are 6-6, but are in second place in the AFC East and still have a mathematical chance at the playoffs. And of course, the weather calls for a cold and windy day in Buffalo today, so that may be a factor as well.
Still, there’s little doubt that the NFL is in a tailspin. Ticket sales have dropped significantly, and TV ratings are in the toilet as well.
As The Baltimore Sun reported last week, the Ravens, who have sold out every game since the team got a franchise in 1996, can’t fill seats this season. It’s a problem being seen in NFL stadiums across the country, says T.J. Brightman, president of public relations firm A. Bright Idea.
Lots of empty seats for the biggest game of the NFL week… pic.twitter.com/kQDZySMFtU
— Brian Handke (@brianhandke) December 3, 2017
“The Ravens are finding themselves in the same situation as a lot of NFL teams this year. There is a disengagement by fans across the country.”
Things aren’t any better on TV, according to The New York Post.
So what’s the reason for the NFL’s woes? The answer to that question depends largely on whom you ask, but many pundits are quick to blame the national anthem protests, famously started by then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. None other than the president of the United States jumped into the controversy – many times – blaming players taking a knee during the national anthem for fans’ disgust with the league.
If NFL fans refuse to go to games until players stop disrespecting our Flag & Country, you will see change take place fast. Fire or suspend!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
However, Fox CEO James Murdoch, according to CBS News, posited another reason: there’s simply too much football on TV to hold fans’ attention. Between the traditional Sunday lineup of games, Monday Night Football, Thursday Night Football, and special editions on other days of the week, the NFL is “over-saturated,” Murdoch claims.
Regardless of the reason or reasons for the decline, one thing is clear: if the NFL can sell tickets for a song, there’s a problem somewhere.