Recently I heard that the fans of the Florida Panthers have signed NFL player agent Drew Rosehaus to represent them in trying to get prices for season tickets lowered. That got me to thinking, do you think fans of sports could get Scott Boras to represent us in trying to bring some cost certainty and sanity for the fans of major sports in the United States. I choose Boras, or Rosenhaus, to represent us becuase of the obvious success they have had representing their player clients over the years. We need representation as well, and we deserve the best! The time has come to stand up for our rights as fans!
Here is what I propose as fan demands in forming a new and revolutionary fan expenditure agreement, sort of similar to a collective bargaining agreement. First, there must be a suds cap put into effect for refreshments at a ballpark. Let's be serious, 9 dollars for a cup of luke warm beer or soda is a little much. I would say, drink prices would have to be capped at 4 dollars per beer, 2 dollars for a soda. Food would also fall into our suds cap. Is there any reason the cap on a cost of a hot dog couldn't be 3 dollars, 4 for a foot long? Basically, concessions need to be capped at about half the price they are now. Ball park food is usually cheap food and should be priced that way as well. Some allowances on the cap could be allowed for luxury food like sushi, but the classics really need to be cheap. It should not cost an arma and a leg to but refreshments for a family of 4 or 5.
There would also have to be a cap put on how much could be charged for merchandise. Is there any legitimate reason why an authentic jersey should cost 200 dollars or more? We are not even talking about an autographed jersey but just a regulation jersey with player name and number on it. When you get right down to it, it is just a shirt, nothing more and nothing less. Let's say, the cost of authentic jerseys should be capped at 50 or 60 dollars, as that seems a legitimate price for a well made pull over shirt. It should be at least somewhat affordable to go to a game and by jerseys or caps or other memorbilia for your kids and family.
Finally, there has to be a cap put on the cost of seats at our sporting events. That would be a lot more complicated. But how about this for a plan. From what I have seen the median income for a household in the United States is about 50,000. Let's say that the per ticket price for floor, or first row seats should be capped at 1% of that amount, about 500 dollars. That is still expensive, put prices that are getting to 2,500 are just ludicrous. Of course, prices would decrease from there to let's say 10 dollars for the cheapest seats. Our games should be accessible to all fans at a reasonable price, not just the wealthiest of fans. Also, the days of corporate suits, who may or may not be watching the game, having the best seats have to come to an end. That's what the luxury boxes are for.
In return, we can agree to harsh penalties for inconsiderate, irresponsible, or downright criminal behavior of some fans, sort of a fan conduct agreement. To begin with, any fan who willfully destroys property, hence adding cost onto the team may receive a lifetime ban as to that team's future games. We agree not to complain on pasrt of those fans. In fact we will agree to a series of penalties to be levied against fans dependent upon the number and severity of offenses committed.
In several leagues, there have been pleadings from ownership for fans to support salary caps, or "cost certainty" for ownership. We were also told that once there were salary caps in place that the sports would be more affordable for the fan. Has that happened in the NBA, NFL or NHL? Last time I priced tickets or merchandise, it did not seem like these sports became any more affordable for fans than they were prior to salary caps being passed. In fact, it seems that prices have continued to rise. The salary caps have only ensured that more money goes to extremely wealthy owners rather than rich players. That is it. There has been no benefit to fans in terms of our costs, period. That has to change.
A side thought, with most teams getting public funding to build stadiums these days shouldn't they be even more obligated to make the sports experience affordable to the members of their communities. When they get public support, we are all paying for our teams facilities through the use of our tax dollars, and we should get some return on our investment as well.
Do you agree with me? Doesn't it seem that we are being raked over the coals by our professional sports teams who seem overly excited about getting every dime they can out of us while providing as little as possible. Maybe I am just a little grumpy right now as I was pricing tickets to a few games, but I do think some semblance of sanity must be brought to our prices.