My guess is: a bit of both. The Bengals’ finish last season didn’t give anyone but masochists a reason to spend their money, but the sputtering economy has everyone running scared. Americans are stuffing their mattresses at record rates, and NFL tickets are just one thing they aren’t buying. In Jacksonville, for example, more than half of season ticket non-renewals are being blamed on the economy.
Bill Prescott, the team’s senior vice president of stadium operations and chief financial officer, said club surveys showed that 65 percent of season-ticket holders who did not renew blamed the economy. He said the team is well off the 43,000 season tickets it had sold at this time last year for the approximately 67,000 uncovered seats at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Though the Carolina Panthers’ front office claims season ticket renewals are “on pace with past years,” the team is is offering two-game ticket packages for the first time in club history. Meanwhile, in Buffalo, season ticket sales are on a record pace, but club seat and luxury suite sales are slow. The story is similar up in Cleveland, where the Browns have teamed up with the Cleveland Indians to sell suites for the Packers and Steelers games this season.
Even in Green Bay, where the waiting list for Packers tickets exceeds 80,000 names, almost triple the number of people on the list will have an opportunity to get coveted Lambeau Field seats: 192, versus 75 or fewer in normal years. Likewise, the 93,000-strong waiting list for New York Giants season tickets is starting to get whittled down a bit.
On the other hand, life is good in the Big Easy, where the Saints have already sold out for the year.