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FedExField attendance suffers amid WFT's issues on and off the field

Analysis showed WFT's low attendance this season means it led the NFL with $7M in unrealized gross game fan revenue per gameGETTY IMAGES

The Washington Football Team averaged 52,751 spectators per game at FedExField this season -- 31st in the NFL, ahead of only the Lions' Ford Field at 50,777 -- and it had "one of the league’s highest rates of opposing fans," according to a source cited by Sam Fortier of the WASHINGTON POST. FedExField is a place where rival fans can "feel comfortable, if not welcome," and game-losing plays by the home team are "sometimes cheered." As WFT wrapped up its fifth consecutive losing season, home game attendance has been the "most visible indicator of fan disenchantment." The low attendance this season means WFT leads the NFL with $7M in "unrealized gross game fan revenue per game," according to an analysis by Team Marketing Report. That figure is "3 1/2 times higher than that of the next franchise." The current state of the team's fan support was "once unthinkable." Some fans argued that things "might not be so bad," if not for the "location and condition" of the stadium. Among the team’s supporters, "one of the main debates is whether it can ever win" with Owner Dan Snyder. However, a WFT spokesperson said that the team's Net Promoter Score, a "measure of customer satisfaction at the stadium," showed a 17-point jump, which "starts to move Washington closer to the league average." A spokesperson added that 2,000 fans have "already put money down" to join the '22 season-ticket list (WASHINGTON POST, 1/8).

TIME TO SELL? NBCSPORTS.com's Peter King writes there is the "simple fact" that WFT fans have "long since surrendered their loyalty to the team, and won’t be back as long as Snyder is the owner." King: "I sincerely hope Daniel Snyder comes to his senses in 2022 and sells the franchise." Only one team in the NFL played to "less than 75 percent capacity this year," as WFT sold only 64.3% of its seats for eight home games. Attendees at the last two games, versus the Cowboys and Eagles, are "certain more than half the crowd at each game rooted for the visitors." The 3-14 Jaguars even "drew 7,217 more fans to home games this season than Washington did" (NBCSPORTS.com, 1/10).

CALL FOR ACTION: In Boston, Tara Sullivan wrote of all the issues she would "love to see addressed" in the coming non-football months, "let’s start with the Washington Football Team and that seemingly endless investigation for systemic workplace sexual harassment, start with its owner Daniel Snyder and the inexplicable Teflon suit he continues to wear, and start with stonewalling commissioner Roger Goodell and his ongoing insistence in shielding the details of what went on around the WFT." Sullivan called for the NFL to "release a report." Sullivan: "What is the NFL hiding? Because logic tells us it is hiding something." Perhaps there is "hope," with the House Committee on Oversight and Reform still "looking for documents and promising to hold a hearing on this topic." Whatever it takes, the NFL "shouldn’t slide." This all "reeks of cover-up, smells like deflection, and stinks from the stench of power and money silencing those who spoke up against the franchise" (BOSTON GLOBE, 1/9).

SBJ Spotlight: TikTok’s threat to traditional sports media

While tech companies are consumed with finding ways to compete with TikTok, almost no one in conventional media “spends any time talking about it,” said Recode senior correspondent Peter Kafka in an Spotlight interview with SBJ’s John Ourand. “To me, that’s just an obvious disconnect.” Kafka authored a recent column headlined, “It’s TikTok’s world. Can TV live in it?” He said the main response to TikTok’s growth from traditional media execs has been to “punt and hope it’s someone else’s problem a quarter from now or two years from now.” But Kafka said that ignores the trend of conventional broadcast audiences growing older while a billion younger consumers spend most of their media time watching short video after short video. “If you’re in the business of getting anyone under the age of 30 to look at what you’re putting on a screen, you have to think about the fact that you’re probably asking them to put down TikTok and watch your thing instead,” said Kafka. “That’s a very difficult ask. … [TikTok] is insanely addictive.”

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