11 Questions with Chuck Todd
7. How Will Recession Affect Sports?
Posted On 05.17, 2013

8 of 12

‹‹ 6. Is Political Intervention Helping Sports? 8. Will Legalized Sports Betting Spread? ››

RCS: In an interview with the Sports Business Journal, you said fans should care about “the anti-government tide and an anti-business populist movement. There is a lot of anger out there. I would think people in the sports industry should be very attuned to the idea that government is not going to be handing our money, tax breaks or land for teams to build stadiums.”

To what degree has the sports industry been insulated from the economic recession, and to what degree do you think it’s still going to get hit?

Todd: Well it’s been insulated a little bit, I mean for instance, the NFL is lucky that it’s TV contract isn’t up this year or next year. It’s still a couple more years until it’s up.

I think that baseball is the one that’s going to get hit first. They’re going to get hit hard on this, because it is such a daily grind. Baseball clubs are more reliant on ticket sales. So the economic downturn is going to hurt them.

Now, as far as new stadiums, I think it’s going to be a very tough time. The idea that somehow state governments in some cases, or sometimes city governments, it’s not going to be politically feasible for them to grant tax breaks or give free land or something like these sweetheart deals that some of these people got for their stadiums over the last few years. It’s not going to be the same. It’s not going to happen. They’re going to have to be more innovative with their stadium proposals. In some cases do it themselves. In some cases just be a little more of a friend to the taxpayer about it.

The NFL is insulated from it somewhat because they don’t rely as heavily on ticket sales. You know, eight games a year, not 41. But baseball, basketball, and hockey I think are really going to get hit in the next year. I think you’re really going to start seeing next year.

I look at Washington and I think it’s happened in a lot of the bigger cities -- the good season tickets were never even marketed to individuals. They were only trying to market it to companies, so that they would buy these nice seats and use them as some sort of business expense. Well with businesses cutting back their expenses the first thing to go is stuff like that. And they’re going to have a hard time trying to figure out where to sell these things.

They’re going to have to drop their prices to a more reasonable level. It’s unbelievable. 20 rows back at the Verizon Center is a $160 seat. 20 rows back! It’s a $160! So my brother-in-law and his son really wanted to see Lebron James, so at face value the two of them together spent $320 for a father and son, one basketball game, and we didn’t even start in on the $20 or $40 parking. It costs $40 to park for the Nationals. They actually charge $40. It’s outrageous. It’s just crazy money and they’ve gotten away with it over the last few years because they figure, particularly here in Washington, that everybody is using other people’s money. Well, that isn’t going to work anymore and I think franchises are going to have to realize that they have to see that the fan is going to use their own money, their own power.

RCS Interviews Chuck Todd

‹‹ 6. Is Political Intervention Helping Sports? 8. Will Legalized Sports Betting Spread? ››

Recent Lists