Tag Archives: Jacksonville Jaguars

Where Would You Not Go To Watch Your Favorite Team Play?

Recently the NFL added a third London game to the regular season schedule. The three teams that will host home games at Wembley Stadium in London next year are the Jacksonville Jaguars, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders. Some experts have pointed out that all three of these organizations are not happy with their current stadium situations. This may or may not be the reason they will be playing games across the pond. It is interesting to note that most season ticket holders are not going to be able to attend a “home” game in another country. Personal seat license (PSL) ticket holders are not going to be happy as this is one of the games of the eight regular season home games in which they will be unable to attend. After shelling over tens of thousands of dollars over the course of a few years it is not a good thing to find out that a home game is going to be played thousands of miles away.

Will Fans Travel?

NFL fans are an interesting bunch. Some teams that have decades of tradition (Steelers, Packers and Bears) have fans that are willing to travel all over the United States to watch their team play. The last time I went to a San Diego Chargers game they played the Green Bay Packers. This was coming off the Super Bowl year so Packers fans were willing to do anything to watch their team play. When we got to the Chargers stadium over 70% of the crowd was pulling for the Packers. This was the first time I attended a professional football game that was so lopsided as it related to the opposing team’s fans. Green Bay fans were willing to fly from Wisconsin to San Diego but I can assure you that San Diego fans would not be willing to fly to Wisconsin.

The Jaguars and Falcons do not have a history of traveling well. Raiders fans are willing to travel but they are on the west coast so their flight to London will be even longer. I think it is safe to say that most season ticket holders are not going to be willing to take a weekend to fly overseas to watch their “home” team play. Even if this was a playoff game, or a very important game, I still do not think fans would make the trip. The economy has improved and attendance has increased in many sports but this does not mean fans are going to shell out $5,000 to make a trip to London to see the boys play.

The only way Americans will be willing to travel overseas for a game is to go to a better climate. If the NFL held games in the Caribbean or a beach tourist destination it would give fans a reason to take a fall or winter vacation. There is a reason the NFL Pro Bowl has been in Hawaii for so many years. That said, London is not going to have moderate temperatures during the fall and winter months. In fact, the temperatures in and around London could be worse than the Northeast. This is something fans will strongly consider before booking their plane tickets and making the game ticket purchases for Wembley Stadium.

How Will PSL Ticket Holders Feel?

A personal seat license ticket holder has worked very hard to get seats in their home stadium. Some of these individuals have spent over $100,000 during the course of the last few decades trying to improve their seats for home games. Having spent a significant amount of time and money to get the ideal seats these fans cannot be happy that they are going to lose one of eight home games. If I were a PSL ticket holder at the home of my favorite stadium and I missed out on a Sunday of fun I would be livid. When I was in college we worked our tails off to make certain we had the seats we wanted on Saturday afternoon. If I worked all offseason to obtain these seats and I lost one of my games that year it would not sit easy with me.

NFL fans continue to come back no matter what. It is interesting to see just how popular the NFL has remained over the last several decades. I am of the age that it is hard to remember a time when the NFL did not own the sports industry. The NFL is so popular that the draft is the biggest event of the spring besides March Madness. Some would argue that major cities that have NFL teams actually gear up for the NFL Draft more than they get ready for March Madness. When looking at the number of searches for NFL related topics it is very obvious that the NFL is the biggest player in town when it comes to professional and semi professional sports.

Although I am an avid college football fan I fully recognize that the NFL is where the big money is. There is a darn good reason companies will pay $3 to $5 million for a 30 second TV commercial during the Super Bowl. Every single year the Super Bowl is the most watched event on TV. On any given Sunday the TV ratings for the best NFL game are through the roof. This means there are huge advertising dollars that go into the TV broadcast and at the stadiums. This brings up another very important point when it comes to teams playing in London. The home stadium will lose a large amount of advertising impressions by not hosting that game. Also, the TV ratings will likely drop because the time difference is so drastic.

The Time Difference for NFL Games

Last week the San Diego Chargers played the Oakland Raiders in a game that started at 11:30 pm est. This was 8:30 on the west coast but I do not live on the west coast. I am a Chargers fan so I stayed up for the first half, which was quite disappointing. I would imagine the ratings for this game were terrible. First of all, it was way too late for anyone that had to work on Monday morning. It was also available only on the NFL Network. To compound the problems the game was terrible from the very beginning. Before I knew it the score was 17-0 Raiders and I had no desire to watch. If this game started at 1:00 or 4:00 my time there is a good chance I would have left it on in the background while I did some work. By the time it was 17-0 it was close to 1:00 am and I had to get to bed to get up Monday morning.

As if this time difference isn’t bad enough, the time difference in London is even worse. The NFL tries to time it out where the game isn’t in the middle of the night but it is very difficult from a logistical standpoint. The NFL wants fans in Wembley Stadium so they cannot make this game kick off in the middle of the night or early in the morning. That would be the prime time in the United States. In all reality, the NFL has to walk a tight rope to figure out when they can air these games to please fans in London and please the TV companies that are making money on ad dollars.

I have always said I would love to live in Hawaii because of the time difference. The great thing about Hawaii is you can wake up on a Saturday or Sunday at 10 and it is around dinner time on the east coast. If you an early riser you can watch all of the college football and still be able to go out to dinner and a movie and not miss anything when it comes to the games. That said, Hawaiians struggle to enjoy lots of football because the best games are on very early in the morning and they are either just rising or still sleeping. This is what is going to happen to fans living in the eastern time zone if the NFL continues to play more games in London. Fans will either have to get up very early to watch the game live or attempt to avoid all score updates because they DVR’d the game while sleeping. This is not an easy thing to do in the age of smartphones and updates all the time. Definitely avoid Twitter if you are looking to avoid finding out the score before you watch the taped version of the game.

Ultimately, most fans are not going to travel to London to watch their team play. I would also imagine diehard fans are not going to be excited to lose one of their eight home games in the fall. These eight weekends are some of the most important weekends of the year for many sports fans so they will be brokenhearted when they know they will have to watch a home game on TV even though they have PSLs.

By Jesse Wojdylo

NFL Football in Los Angeles – Deja Vu all over again or something better?

From 1946 to 1980, the Los Angeles Rams roamed LA’s Colleseum with players like Rosey Grier, Merlin Olsen, and Deacon Jones stalking opposing quarterbacks. The Ram’s Eric Dickerson rushed for a then NFL record 2,105 yards in the 1984 season. The Rams appeared in the 1980 Super Bowl XIV, losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Rams remained close by in Anaheim from 1980-1994. In 1982 the Raiders joined the Rams in LA. The Raiders won the 1984 Super Bowl XVIII as the Los Angeles Raiders.

But by 1995 both teams were out of Los Angeles. The Rams relocated to St. Louis, and the Raiders moved back to Oakland. Now football is on the cusp of being back in L.A. The questions is, will it work this time?

Recently significant progress in building a privately financed football stadium in L.A. has been made. The city counsel approved a plan to build Farmer’s Field, a $1.5 billion dollar stadium. The new project will connect to and expand the Los Angeles Convention Center. Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said in a statement, “We are a giant step closer to bringing NFL football back to Los Angeles.”

The NFL Network reported that NFL league offices sent letters to all 32 franchises advising teams of the potential time-line for moving a team into Los Angeles. The NFL advised teams to apply for relocation by February 15th, 2013. It’s been rumored that the San Diego Chargers, the Jacksonville Jaguars, and the St. Louis Rams, among others are in the mix relocate to Los Angeles.

The St. Louis Rams are unhappy with their stadium and would consider a move back to Los Angeles. Presumably, the Rams already have a fan base in Los Angeles leftover from the Ram’s long stint in the city. However, bitterness from the Ram’s relocation to St. Louis remains among some fans.

Perhaps more importantly, Los Angeles is a notoriously fickle city when it comes to supporting its sports franchises. There are underlying reasons that both the Rams and the Raiders left Los Angeles that go beyond the stadium facility issues. Gaining and keeping fan interest has proven difficult in the past. Hollywood is a unique and formidable competitor that no other sports city must face. The lure of Hollywood attracts a large population from all over the country that is either uninterested in sports or maintains loyalties to other sports teams outside L.A. Additionally, Los Angeles is far from a blue collar town which typically supports sports franchises as in Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh.

The L.A. Lakers have a rabid following and are considered by many to be the only game in town. The L.A. Dodgers have long standing tradition and have made gains in previous years. U.S.C. is very popular among southern California sports fans. Competition and general apathy towards sports in L.A. raises attendance concerns for the NFL and potential owners. T.V. blackouts were a problem in the past.

Why is the NFL desirous of moving not only one, but potentially two franchises back to Los Angeles? The question is likely answered by the $3.1 billion dollar average annual television rights the league receives annually. That’s more than enough to withstand some poor attendance issues. The NFL is king of the hill when it comes to television. Unlike other sports leagues that are more dependent on attendance for revenues, the NFL makes the majority of its revenue from television. Having a presence in the second largest television market not only makes sense, but increase the value of the NFL’s TV package for the next round of negotiations with broadcast networks.

Despite the troubled past history of Los Angeles football, look for at least one NFL franchise to reappear in L.A. as soon as the 2012 season.

Mike Knapp
Knappernation.com