King Kaufman's Sports Daily

A plan that would have fans lining up to loan the NFL money, interest free. Plus: The last word on the women's sports debate.

By Salon Staff
January 28, 2004 1:16AM (UTC)
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Reader Clinton Pidlubny is under the impression that a column I wrote last year got the TV networks to stop showing field goals from a camera high above the goal posts. I'm not sure that this annoying practice -- if something exciting happens, like a fake or a block, it looks like ants running around -- has stopped, and if it has I'm pretty sure I had nothing to do with it.

But emboldened by someone having such confidence in my powers, I'm going to take another swing at this month's quixotic project, turning the Super Bowl from a neutral-site event into a home game for one of the teams.


The arguments against doing that are twofold: that holding the game in a warm-weather site or a domed stadium ensures that the NFL's championship game won't be spoiled by nasty winter weather that might prevent true football skills from coming to the fore, and that the Super Bowl is more than just a football game, it's a giant corporate party for fat cats, and fat cats like to party in places like Florida, or even Houston, far more than they like to boogie down in the slush in Green Bay, Wis.

The first reason is a religious question. You either believe that dealing with the variable of the weather is part of what makes football great or you believe that the championship game should be played in mild conditions, and no amount of arguing is going to change your mind even if you're wrong, which you are if you disagree with me.

The second is about money. I think holding the Super Bowl in the home stadium of one of the teams would be a gold mine. Every team in the NFL could sell out its stadium for the Super Bowl in August. Thirty-one of those teams would have to refund the money in February. What could you do with a six-month, interest-free loan of millions of dollars?


Here's how it would work. Right now 35 percent of the tickets to the big game go to the two participating teams. The "host" team (the Houston Texans this year) gets 5 percent, each of the other 29 teams gets 1.2 percent, and the league handles the rest, a little over 25 percent. Since the host team will always be playing, we'll throw the host's 5 percent into the pot for the participating teams, giving them 40 percent. Let's say 30 percent for the home team, 10 percent for the visiting team.

So figuring an average capacity of 70,000, all 32 teams would put about 28,000 seats on sale in August: 21,000 home tickets if our boys are the Super Bowl host, 7,000 road tickets if they're the visitor. Other than the Arizona Cardinals, I can't imagine any team not selling out that run. The list price for tickets this year was $500, so that's $14 million in the bank for every team, interest free, for six months, $434 million for the whole league, plus maybe a few thousand from the Cardinals. Of course, $14 million worth of those tickets will actually be used, but that's still a $420 million, six-month, interest-free loan.

Maybe a little less than that, since the teams would probably make up their 1.2 percent allotment from the fans who bought road tickets. Details, details. The point is, having the Super Bowl be a real game, in front of the home crowd, would create enough excitement -- which is very marketable -- to more than make up for the loss of a few corporate parties at a warm-weather site. And don't forget, there would be more than just those 30,000 home fans in the seats. More than 25,000 tickets would be in the hands of fans from the 30 teams that aren't playing. Those would mostly be scalped to fans of the two conference champs, with the NFL, if it's smart, which it is, acting as the broker and taking a cut. More money for the league, more fans who care in the stadium.


I know it'll never work, but there's this whole other universe going on inside my head that I have to make arrangements for, so I think about these things. Anyway, you never know. I got that field goal camera angle changed, didn't I?

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A postscript on women's sports [PERMALINK]

I wanted to stay out of the fray Monday and let the readers speak, but I also want to say that, although I haven't changed my mind that it's not my responsibility to promote women's sports, I am going to make an effort to pay a little more attention to them, particularly women's basketball, in the coming months.


Several readers, including some media professionals, argued persuasively that reader indifference to the subject shouldn't mean it gets ignored. I don't think anything I write will have any effect on the popularity or acceptance level of women's sports -- especially if nobody reads it -- but I'm willing to give being a little more inclusive a try, for no other reason than that it'll make my job a little harder, and I hate to think I'm getting lazy in my old age.

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