Black out…Back out

By jawarrener  |   Wednesday, September 08, 2010  |  Comments( 1 )

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Ok, all of you Wall Street gurus, here’s the new law of supply and demand. When the demand starts to falter, take all of your product/service off the shelf. If people don’t want to pay what you are asking, then take it all away from them. That’s right, scoop it all up and stow it away somewhere. This principle is fundamentally unsound from the outset. If you ask anyone who knows anything about business, the law of supply and demand is quite simple. If demand goes up, price goes up. If supply goes up and demand doesn’t rise with it, then price goes down. It’s a natural process of economics that even with regulation, is hard to change.
My question is, how did the Glazers get so rich when they do not understand this fundamental principle of economics? They control the Buccaneers and also, arguably, the most successful soccer franchise in the world. So how did they come by all this? It certainly could not have been through business savvy. They couldn’t turn a profit from a lemonade stand set up next to a private lemon tree grove. How is it they don’t get basic business principles? Grant it, that they were able to finally bring home that elusive Lombardi trophy. However, my opinion is that they rode the crest of a wave started and built by Tony Dungy. Since then, the Bucs have not won a playoff game and have returned to their perennial doormat status. In the mean time, The Glazers purchased Manchester United and basically scuttled the Bucs’ ship. They cut loose most of the team’s veteran leaders and led them into a dark age of rebuilding. Season ticket sales have plummeted since that Super Bowl win. I myself, stood at number 2,004 on the season ticket waiting list of over 20,000. That stock has fallen so far I am surprised the Glazers didn’t apply for some of that federal bailout money the government was handing out recently. They went from a 20k person waiting list to blacking out their home games.
This could be their ultimate downfall. Blacking out games is nothing new. It has gone on for decades as a petty revenge measure taken by owners to further alienate, and punish football fans. When you consider the massive recession this country is in, coupled with the “rebuilding” era of the Buccaneers, blacking out home games is tantamount to chopping off the hand that feeds you. Who buys these season tickets? Who pays for the cable service to watch games? Who orders NFL Sunday Ticket? Who buys the hideously over-priced jerseys made in Thailand by a thirteen year old girl? The fans do. The fans pay not just the players but also the owners’ salaries. Every mode of income for these giant leprechauns is generated directly or indirectly by the fans. Even these massive TV contracts that teams vie for, come from ratings based on how many people watch the game on TV. How does taking the games off TV help generate income; or rather, stem the hemorrhaging of money?
First of all, it’s mostly a moot measure. Every bar in Hillsborough County has a football package. So if fans really want to see their team play, they just have to mosey on over to the local pub. Instead of getting some of their ticket money back, they are just handing it over to the local bars and pubs. And this isn’t a bad thing; at least not for the bars and the people who work in them. Secondly, how can not watching your team play, make you want to buy tickets to go see them? Unemployment has reached over 10% in Florida, people are getting foreclosed out of their homes, companies are shrinking, contracting and dissolving and the Glazers’ brilliant idea to deal with flagging ticket sales is to black out games? This is the pinnacle of idiocy. If the economy is down, if the team’s success is down, shouldn’t the ticket prices go down? They don’t. Ticket prices have risen since that Super Bowl year of 20k+ people on the waiting list. Can you Wall Street gurus help me figure out how this makes a lick of sense?
As a fan, and as someone who is struggling in this economy, I resent this measure with menace. If they want to charge more than it’s worth to go to games? Fine. If they want to blackout games because they can’t sell their overpriced, overvalued tickets, they can bite it. They want to blackout, we as fans will back out. It would be like the old days when opposing teams would half fill the stadium with their own fans. Pro football in Tampa would be an afterthought. If we as fans could unite and not buy into their “pot o’ gold”. If enough of us got together on it, we could bring them to their knees. They would be begging us to buy their tickets, they will be televising every game for those of us that can’t make it to the stadium. They want to blackout, we need to back out. It’s up to us to take back control. Who’s with me?
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