NFL vS NFLPA: Are The Fans On The Losing End?

Well, the dust has finally settled after another Jets season.  Many fans not looking forward to the 6 month off season before preseason begins.  The players and rookies will be called to camp before then, but not soon enough for some.  Counting down days on the calendar like prisoners waiting for parole.  I hate when football season is over.  I am not into basketball.  Hockey begins close to the playoffs.  Baseball begins for me at the All Star break.  Football is my true sports vice.

With the 2011 season still up in the air, many fans wonder if they will be able to use their season tickets.  Some others are wondering if it is worth even looking into the ones that are left.  With the NFL and NFLPA not close to agreeing on a new collective bargaining agreement the 2011 seems like a season of fantasy.  The NFL and players both have their terms they would like to be met.  In the end, if no terms are met, not only will the NFL and players both lose money but the fans will lose out as well.

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Many fans only paid one year into their five or fifteen year payment plan of their PSL’s.  If there is no season, one still has to make that payment.  But the Jets did say payment on season tickets would vary.  If there is no season, no ticket money would be paid.  If any games are played, then payments for only those games played.  With the football season only having 8 home games, a shortened season is close to having no season.  Especially to tailgaters.

I wonder just how often when the big decisions are being made in these meetings with team owners,, the NFL, and players that the fans are taken into consideration and discussed.  The fans are like the last ones picked in the game of kickball.  Is there a discussion on how all the decisions will affect their fans or is it about how they will lose out on generating revenue.  In reality, the fans are the ones who help them generate that revenue, not just sponsors,TV contracts, merchandising, etc.  I am sure the NFL and team owners know this, but is there a focus that is really put on the fans who come out and pay?

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I may be venting a little bit here.  I know the NFL and teams do think about the fans.  But I am sure they think more about the ticket sales and making sure seats are filled rather than who actually sits in those seats.  They could care less if Joe SuperFan who has been sitting in the same seat is there, as long as that seat is filled.  To them, Joe SuperFan is just a consumer.  They do not care if he comes to every game, they do not know him personally.  As long as his seat is paid for, that is all that matters.

But i am sure they know the VIP’s and those who purchase suites by name.  Those people get different sales reps who know their clients by name.  The sales reps for stadium seats wear Jets polo shirts.  The sales reps for suites wear suits.  I know, I followed a suite sales rep around as he was pitching a suite to a potential customer.  I heard their conversation.  It is such a different approach than the average fan looking into seats.  The suite sales rep mentioned how he would be treated the same way Woody Johnson would be treated.  Shouldn’t every fan be treated the same way?  Or only those that pay more than others?

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In this off season, a lot needs to be taken into consideration as to how the NFL, team owners, players, and fans should be considered.  For the last three seasons, I have interviewed many different Jets season ticket holders.  I have received opinions on various levels.  Many fans feel that even though they are talked to on varying degrees, their opinions do not really matter.  Even after the new stadium was built and was supposed to be better for all fans, complaints are still rampant.  Only the ones who follow the Jets like sheep and do everything they say do not complain.

In this off season many factors need to be considered.  The NFL and NFLPA not only should come to an agreement for what is best for both sides, but do it before the start of the 2011 season.  if they don’t, many fans will be outraged and angry.  Jet fans want the 2011 season to happen.  Even if the Jets do not keep the same team from this past season, the aura is there to make another worthy run into the playoffs next season.  No one wants to see a lock out, no one.  Not the teams, the players, the NFL, anyone.

I think the NFL and fans should have a collective bargaining agreement.  The fans should ask for certain universal concessions from the teams to make sure we actually get our monies worth.  Every fan has complaints about their team.  I do not think any fan is 100% satisfied with everything.  From the team to the concessions to the parking, everyone has at least one issue.  So as the NFL and NFLPA sit in their meetings for hours on end, they should keep one thing in mind.

Are the decisions we make not just right for us, are they right for our fans.

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