NFL Tackles Ticket Slump

Professional football may be considered the top-selling sport in the States but it’s not immune to what the concert industry deals with: how to counteract low ticket sales and draw fans out of their living rooms.

The Wall Street Journal reported game attendance has dropped 4.5 percent since 2007 as online and broadcast viewing has increased.

“The at-home experience has gotten better and cheaper, while the in-stadium experience feels like it hasn’t,” Eric Grubman, NFL executive VP of ventures and business, told the WSJ. “That’s a trend that we’ve got to do something about.”

Changes for the upcoming season include loosening up on the league’s TV “black out” rule for games that aren’t sold out, showing the same instant replays in the stadiums that refs watch when deciding a close play, free wireless Internet at every venue and a phone app that allows fans to listen in on designated microphoned players, the paper said.

The New York Jets have lowered the price of about 12,000 upper-level seats at the 82,500-capacity MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., also home to the New York Giants, for the upcoming season.

Jets President Neil Glat said dropping the prices on selected seats gives fans more value. Current ticket holders will also benefit from the price break, the paper said.

“That was not an issue about worrying about getting games on TV,” Glat said, “but what is the right price for the value for the fans. And there’s really an emphasis in the NFL on season ticket holders, the lifeblood of the league.”

Seats in the last seven rows of four sections of sideline seats have been dropped from $105 to $75 or $50. Seats in corners and the end zone drop from $95 to $75 or $50.

A Jets season ticket, including two preseason games, could go for as low as $500.

Last April Ticketmaster launched its dynamic pricing program, created with data analysis company MarketShare, that raises or lowers ticket prices based on demand for concerts and sporting events. The program is also said to deter scalpers while giving fans more options to choose from.