Monday, July 28, 2008

Shorten the Preseason? Add a Regular Season Game? Someone Better Ask Gene Upshaw First

In his "Weekly Message," NFL Player's Association President Gene Upshaw has made it clear that the players are, apparently, going to fight the commissioner on every front:
"The topic of a longer season has not been raised by the NFL lately. In their haste and early discussions about creating more revenue, some from their side have suggested adding a 17th game. Seems simple, if you agree with the NFL. The discussion will not advance in any way until they are willing to pay the players to play. As we approach the pre-season, the talking heads will follow the NFL lead, saying that pre-season is too long: “Let’s go to a 3-17 schedule.” Unless and until the NFL is willing to pay the players an additional game check, this will be a short discussion."
On its face the statement seems provocative enough, however we have to wonder just how many owners want to eliminate even one of the pre-season games.

As a fans and season ticket holders we'd love to quit paying full-price for exhibition games. However, the fact that owners are not required to pay their players until the regular season begins (and also do not pay them in the postseason) while collecting full-price for tickets to exhibition games makes it unlikely that owners will be lining up to fight this battle.

While some have posited that the additional game could increase television revenue the feeling here is that one more game will increase television revenue marginally. Instead, we'd like to suggest that the league offer an online version of "Sunday Ticket" for out of market, preseason games only thereby allowing the hardcore and/or displaced to watch their favorite team; and at $29.95 per subscriber (our suggested price point) net revenues would meet or exceed the commissioner's suggested plan.

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