The Fan Experience Benchmark: U.S. Professional Sports report (10,000 surveyed) indicates that the National Football League gives its fans the worst game-day fan experience among American pro sports leagues (included Big 4 + NASCAR, PGA, MLS, WNBA and ATP). The NFL finished last in 8 of the 9 live-event experiences tracked by the Tempkin Group, scoring the lowest in parking, concessions and bathrooms. The news wasn’t all bad for the league though, it remains the most popular sport to watch on television by a wide margin; 50.8% of those surveyed enjoy watching the league on their couch (MLB 2nd with 37.9%).
Howie Long-Short: Those surveyed rated parking as the worst part of the NFL game-day experience. The price to park your car outside of an NFL stadium varies across the league, but can cost between +/- $25 and $75 (Dallas); often still requiring a 10-15 minute walk to the stadium entrance. It’s a valid concern and one that the league could (and should) solve with minimal financial impact; but, I’m not in the camp that believes the NFL has a poor game-day experience. Sure, it’s expensive, but there’s nothing better than being in the building on days like these; plus, the tailgate is great!
For those who think this survey is another sign that the league is failing, think again. Back in December, Yahoo! (AABA) agreed to pay $2 billion over 5 years to stream league games (without exclusivity, I might add) and Amazon (AMZN) recently signed a 2-year $130 million deal for the rights TNF; $15 million more/year than they paid last season. NFL broadcast deals are so large, the league could play games in empty stadiums and still generate more revenue than any other pro sports league in the U.S. In 2016, the league generated 16.35% of its total revenue ($13 billion+) from ticket sales; using that same percentage on 2017 revenue (the percentage has declined, the new revenue is from TV) and the league still generated $1.8 billion more than MLB (hit $10 billion for 1st time).
Fan Marino: Monday Night Football fans are going to have to get used to 2 new voices in 2018 with Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten, replacing Sean McDonough and Jon Gruden. Witten’s hiring is particularly confusing. He’ll make $4-4.5 million/year to be the “face of MNF”, despite never doing color commentary and lacking mainstream recognition (i.e. he’s not Peyton Manning, their 1st choice). ESPN continues to burn good money after bad (see: $14.5 million on Get Up!). If they had to have Witten, they could have for less; no one could have offered a comparable stage.
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