By Paul M. Banks
From watching the MSM these past couple days, it appears finances and economics are on everybody’s mind right now. Well, I have a business proposition to create wealth and jobs (at least locally): a second NFL team. As I’ll show you, consumer demand is in a state perfect for a second team.
Baseball may be â€œAmericaâ€™s Pasttime,â€ but the National Football League is its passion; doing bigger television ratings numbers and earning larger revenue streams than any other sports. In a Harris sports poll done in 2008, the NFL was the favorite sport of nearly as many people (30 percent) as the combined total of the next four professional sports â€“ baseball (fifteen percent), auto racing (ten percent), hockey (five percent) and menâ€™s pro basketball (four percent). The NFL has 32 teams, the rest of the major sports leagues have 30. However, since it is doing the best business, it is also the league most likely to expand. Eight years down the line could be the perfect time. The league last expanded in 2002 (Houston Texans) and 1999 (second Cleveland Browns franchise) Los Angeles could have a franchise again and that would keep the total number of teams even. Chicago currently supports two baseball franchises that maintain a spirited and profitable rivalry. The Bears 2008 marketing campaign plays off this rivalry and their advantageous position as being the only football game in town with their â€œOne City. One Team.â€ slogan. Itâ€™s time for competition.
Last season, a director in a Fortune 500 Accounting Firm friend of mine gave me a free â€œmid-levelâ€ ticket to a Bears-Cowboys game. This was printed on the ticket:
Ticket Price: $93.69
Club Privileges fee: $131.00
TOTAL:Â Â Â Â Â $235.00
Remember these Cadillac Club tickets are still mid-level. Imagine what you get for the $330 face value tickets! With the â€œclub privileges fee,â€ the $100 that it costs JUST TO GET ON the season ticket WAITING LIST, the simple existence of â€œPublic Seat Licensesâ€ that go for thousands and thousands of dollars, and the very fact that the NFL can get away with charging $95 for a preseason game, (Seriously, the Caleb Hanie-to-Brandon Rideau passing connection is not exactly Montana-to-Rice and isnâ€™t worthy of paying almost a C-Note!) itâ€™s clear that demand for professional football in Chicago is off-the-charts! You can try and blame the Bears for being greedy, but you shouldnâ€™t. Fault for this absurd price inflation lies in the so-called â€œfree-market.â€ I learned in MBA school about demand equilibrium; and the market here is WAY out of equilibrium. You donâ€™t need to be John Kenneth Galbraith or have fancy Wall Street type graphs to see how consumer demand is crying out for us to return to the days when we had two football teams.
The Chicago Cardinals played in Comiskey Park from 1922-1959. Since moving on to St. Louis and later Arizona, they have yet to host another playoff game and they have not come even remotely close to contending for another championship; last winning one here in 1947. Perhaps the decline of their franchise since they left town is more evidence that another NFL team is destined to be here? Obtaining an expansion team charter is a more likely scenario than bringing the Cardinals back home. Building a new permanent stadium for 2016 would go a long way towards granting this wish. Of course, if/when that happens, the Bears will still come first in this town!
You could say that every market is a “bear market”
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