As the NFL continues to figure out how to get more people to choose attending games over watching them on increasingly sophisticated televisions (and not buy increasingly expensive stadium food and drink), Cowboys owner Jerry Jones acknowledges that there’s a connection between the two.
Basically, the league needs full stadiums to make the games as compelling as they possibly can be on television.
“Only seven percent of NFL fans have ever been inside an NFL stadium,” Jones told Charlie Rose of PBS. “That stadium I built was built for television. I could have built it for $800 million, not [$1.2 billion]. But I wanted to design a ‘wow’ factor so that an Al Michaels could be sitting there, and basically through his talent make the fans at home on television feel like that they were right there at the game, a part of what was going on at the game.
“Our game cannot become a studio game, it’s got to have the pageantry of the coliseum of Rome, it’s got to have the crowds. And that makes the game more exciting to watch on television.”
So what does this mean? Well, for the teams that can’t fill stadiums on a consistent basis (whether that’s the Bucs, Jags, Raiders, Chargers, or anyone else), it means that they’ll become candidates to move to cities where they can.
The other reality is that, unlike Jones’ 100,000-seat-give-or-take-a-few-especially-during-the-Super-Bowl football palace, some teams may need to build smaller stadiums in the future, in order to ensure that they’ll be full on a full-time basis.