Tom Brady’s decision to play the 2020 season in Tampa Bay has already begun to pay dividends for the Glazer family and the Buccaneers. Shortly after word began to leak that the Bucs had signed the future HOF QB +/- 6,000 fans lined up (digitally) to purchase season tickets. The following day, The Athletic reported that the team would be increasing pricing on all non-club level seats by +15% (there is a price hold in place on club level tickets and for fans renewing season tickets). In addition to the boost in ticketing-related income, Brady’s presence should give the Bucs the opportunity to grow local sponsorship, broadcast (think: radio rights, pre-season television) and corporate hospitality (think: club/suite sales, events or player appearances) revenues. Adam Grossman (CEO, Block Six Analytics) told JohnWallStreet that the 6x Super Bowl champion should be worth “at least [an additional] $20 million” to the Bucs according to the company’s Revenue Above Replacement (RAR) model that looks at a player’s off-field (in addition to their on-field) impact on the team’s top-line.
Howie Long-Short: Even with Tom Brady on board, the Bucs decision to raise ticket prices coming off of a 7-9 season is relatively surprising – at least by NFL standards. While it’s not uncommon to see a single free-agent acquisition or lottery selection spark interest in an NBA franchise, Patrick Ryan said individual players generally don’t “have a tremendous impact on ticket demand [in the NFL]; the team brands are [typically] what drives pricing.”
That said, the Eventellect co-founder thought it was a savvy move by the Tampa Bay organization to quickly “adjust to their new reality” and capitalize on having “one of the very few NFL players who can sell tickets.” Ryan wasn’t prepared to declare the Bucs would sell out every home game in 2020, but he does expect they’ll be close to capacity for most (even with the increase in pricing); particularly if the team starts off the season strong.
Grossman’s $20 million estimate seems to be conservative. It’s feasible that the Bucs could generate an additional $10 million in ticket sales alone. Remember, Tampa averaged just 50,728 fans/game last season (30th in the league) in a building that seats 65,890. As Ryan said “some quick back of the napkin math would indicate that if the Bucs sold an additional 10,000 tickets/game at $100/per it would get them to $10 million.”
The Bucs should be enjoying a “golden moment” in terms of sponsorship sales – in any other off-season the addition of Tom Brady would be worth a “10% to 20% incremental revenue increase”, but with “many categories having scaled back retail operations and/or having shuttered businesses temporarily” the universe of potential brand partners has shrunk. Michael Neuman (managing partner, Scout Sports & Entertainment) said it’s too early to tell how the Coronavirus will ultimately impact sales. “We’re in the first quarter of this pandemic and we don’t have enough information yet to know when we’re going to be in the clear.” Until businesses can regain the confidence “to carry out their brand’s promise(s) to their customers”, it’s unlikely they’ll be spending on new sports sponsorships (and that assumes the games kick-off as scheduled).
The NFL is going to see an increase in Bucs-related merchandise sales (Fanatics reported Tampa Bay was the top selling team across their entire network on Friday), but with those revenues split evenly amongst the teams (except for the Cowboys who retain their own sales revenues and are excluded from receiving a share) the club is highly unlikely to realize much of a financial gain from the addition of Brady. Similarly, an increase in national TV appearances – which is all but assured – will not boost the team’s coffers; national broadcast revenues tied to regular season games are shared equally amongst the teams.
Fan Marino: Brady’s presence on the Tampa Bay roster will have a “massive impact” on ticket prices when the team goes on the road. Remember, NFL clubs are permitted to maintain three tiers of variable pricing. With Brady transforming the Bucs from “the least in-demand road draw to very well the top draw”, the face value of tickets to see the NFC South team will climb and the “secondary market will follow suit.” For some perspective, Ryan said that last year “in New Orleans the cheapest lower-level secondary market ticket [to see the game against the Bucs] would have been in the neighborhood of $125. Expect to see that [price] basically double [in 2020].”
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