It seems absolutely ridiculous on the surface. Fans being unable to attend NFL games early during the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
How could it even be reasonable to believe that said fans could benefit from empty stadiums early in the campaign starting in less than two weeks?
According to Ticket IQ founder Jesse Lawrence (h/t The Athletic), it’s rather simple. “Teams have to figure out how to be nimble in a way they never had to before,” Lawrence said. “They want to be the first point of contact when the market comes back.”
The basic premise of this makes sense. NFL teams could very well stop relying on second-hand resale sites and look to sell tickets to fans themselves.
Already facing a downfall of $7 billion on the ticket market if fans are not able to attend games throughout the 2020 season, this would put teams in an unenviable position. They’d like to get as many fans to attend games without having to price fans out of actually making that decision during the current economic downfall.
“It’s a market cap, if you will, in terms of what the potential value of that ticket market is across primary and secondary markets. A team could be losing more or less but this is a simple to apples-to-apples comparison,” Lawrence noted.
Basically, the market will dictate ticket prices. And if NFL teams decide to sell to the consumers, either via its relationship with StubHub or directly, it eliminates market competition.
The only question here is whether this will even be relevant once the 2020 season starts in less than two weeks.
NFL teams have differing plans when it comes to fans attending games
The Las Vegas Raiders have already noted that they will not have fans in attendance throughout the 2020 season. That’s going to cost the new Nevada-based team an estimated $571 million in ticket sales.
Meanwhile, the division-rival Kansas City Chiefs are expecting to have Arrowhead at about 20% capacity for their season opener against the Houston Texans on Sept. 10. That’s noticeable in that Kansas City is the first team to make said announcement.
As for the Dallas Cowboys, they’d lose a cool $461 million in ticket sales if games are played without fans in attendance. Although, owner Jerry Jones fully expects his home stadium to host fans during the 2020 campaign.
These different plans complicate things from a logistical and competitive balance perspective. But if teams are able to actually welcome fans at some point this season, said fans might receive a discount compared to previous years.