If anyone is wondering why NFL commissioner recently said that the in-game experience for fans was atop the list of the league's priorities, you now have your answer. A recent Twitter post from Kristi Dosh brought up a very interesting point which warrants a bit of exploration, and thus serves as the reason for Roger Goodell's response.
Last season the NFL posted the lowest total attendance since the league expanded to 32 teams. Is at-home experience poaching fans?— Kristi Dosh (@SportsBizMiss) July 9, 2012
Recently, the NFL commissioner made the announcement that fans will get access to Wi-Fi among other things in every home stadium to make the in-game experience better.
"We believe that it is important to get technology into our stadiums," Goodell said at the recent NFL league meetings. "We have made the point repeatedly that the experience at home is outstanding, and we have to compete with that in some fashion by making sure that we create the same kind of environment in our stadiums."
So what is a fan to do? The live experience is an incredible time if the team is winning or the experience is worth it. But recent incidents of fan violence, subpar on-field products from owners refusing to spend money, and the rising costs of everything from parking to concessions makes it much easier to sit in the comfort of one's own home and watch the game up-close.
If the NFL gives a few new amenities at games, is that going to be enough? Certainly it might help for a few but what you don't hear the NFL saying is that the bottom line is going to drop. No one is saying that the NFL will help provide affordable parking or lower concessions or work with teams to provide package deals for fans. Rather than provide them with more, it's likely the trend will continue to watch it at home until the in-game experience costs fans a bit less.