Thursday, March 10, 2005

New Attendance Figures for NFL Teams

So ESPN has just published the attendance figures for all 32 teams for 2004.Now the numbers are somewhat skewed due to the fact that the some of the stadiums seat more than others. So for example, I think that the Gillette Stadium, where the Patriots play is sold out every game nowadays and has a significant waiting list but the Patriots do not top the attendance charts because of a smaller stadium. I am too lazy to look up just how large their stadium is, but you can figure it out pretty easily by just dividing their total attendance by 8, which should be the number of games they played in the past four seasons at home.

The teams at the bottom of the attendance figures, however, are likely not skewed much by small stadiums. The Cardinals average about 37K a game which is pretty pathetic. There are unlikely, though, to risk moving to greener pastures. By green, I mean money and by pastures I mean Los Angeles. For some dumb reason, the NFL has a hard-on for locating a team in Los Angeles. To them, it makes sense to have the a team in the second largest media market in the country. They think it will increase interest and TV ratings, thus leading to more cash-money in the other owners' wallet. This line of thinking is flawed in the same way that thinking the NFL will work in Phoenix is. Some areas, despite a large population base do not support sports in general and football especially than cities with less population. There is very little to do in Buffalo and Green Bay outside of football and there is a rich tradition of NFL football in these towns. That is why they have such high attendance figures. Phoenix and LA lack these two important keys to success for an NFL team.

My guess is that the NFL will go ahead soon with its plans to put a team back in LA within 15 years after the Rams and Raiders both left town. My expectation is that although it would be better to expand into LA, because of the current four division format, this is unlikely. I assume that the Saints and the Raiders are currently the most likely teams to move. My hope is that the Bills won't join this short list anytime soon.

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