I’ve been picking up NFL games since I was five years old, and the experience has changed little. If you’re as old as I am, seeing a game at the stadium is still pretty much like what it used to be.
Except for one thing: today tickets are cheaper and easier to get, and there’s fewer of them.
If you’re looking for an NFL ticket, I don’t know how much more complicated that process can get. There are places out there where you can buy tickets directly from the team or the league. There are places that specialize in selling tickets to games that aren’t being played locally yet, so if you want to go see a game in London or Mexico City or wherever, you can find tickets for it online. There are places where you can buy tickets from brokers who will list them in bulk on their website and then sell them to resellers who will list them on other websites… no matter how complicated your NFL teams are, it should be possible to get the right ones through one of these outlets.
But not all NFL teams sell their tickets through these outlets; some don’t even have an official ticket-selling site anymore. And just because a team doesn’t have an official site doesn’t mean they’re not selling their
If you like to follow sports, you might want to check out the NFL Blogs. There are blogs like ESPN’s Gameblog and SI’s Turnstile that post scores each and every week. Others are more newsy, like the blog of the Boston Globe. But a lot of people just read them for the hilarious commentary.
Most of these blogs charge a subscription fee, but not all. The NFL Blog at Sports Illustrated (SI) is free, as is its sister blog at The New York Times (Nyt). If you want to read every game, though, paying for most of the blogs is probably worth it because they provide links to other sources for scores and stats and analysis.
But here’s something else: you can usually get tickets to games with the links SI provides. If you choose a game based on the opponents or venue, your ticket will probably be good for that game only. But if you choose a game purely on the scores, you’ll be in luck whether your team is playing or not.
You can also buy single-game tickets directly from the NFL’s Ticketing Services site (NFLticketing.com), but there are often better deals available elsewhere. For example, on StubHub (StubHub) or eBay (
The NFL is the richest sports league in the world. How on earth did that happen? The key is to buy your tickets before you buy the game; not to buy the game first and then buy your tickets.
Wait till after the season is over, when there is usually some kind of auction that turns out to be much better than any other way of getting games. In February and March, auctions are more common than in other times of year, because fans are still waiting for their teams to secede from their cities and create new leagues, leaving no room for anything else. In April and May, when most teams have already moved on from their old stadiums, there is an auction every week, with prices that are almost always lower than you can get them by selling at face value or from other sources.
From last year’s auctions you need to know only that prices are low and are going down all the time; if the price was $1,500 a ticket and it’s $1,200 now, it will probably be $1,000 next week and $900 the week after that. There will also be a general tendency for prices to rise after a stadium gets sold out: Ticketmaster charges more to get seats unsold than they did to sell
Back in the late 80’s, I was one of the first journalists to cover the Internet. It was a pretty lonely time.
One thing I learned is that there are two types of people who go to Internet sites for information: armchair quarterbacks, who theorize about real-world events based on their own prejudices, and reporters, who go to verify what armchair quarterbacks are saying.
Armed with this insight, I set out to determine whether or not anyone buys NFL tickets by going on the Internet.
Using a combination of search engines and my own crawler, I examined a sample of websites in a few major markets. I didn’t find any evidence that most people buy NFL tickets by going on the Internet. The only website I found that actually sells tickets is Ticketmaster’s primary site, ticketmaster.com . (I think you can also buy from Ticketmaster’s other sites if you have an American Express card; if you have a Visa card you can buy through TicketNetwork.) The rest of the sites either sell tickets for concerts or for sporting events such as hockey or baseball.
This isn’t surprising, since America is one of those countries where people tend not to go online for news about popular sports teams. For example, only 11% of
If you’re just starting out, it is best to go for quality, not quantity. The great thing about professional sports is that they all have a hard ceiling. The only way your team can win the Super Bowl is by having a better record than the other teams in the league. And if your team wins the Super Bowl, it’s only because you had a better record than the other teams in the league.
If your team doesn’t make it to the Super Bowl, upgrading to a better seat or a better seat at the end zone will do nothing for you. There are NFL seats with views of the field that cost more than a year’s rent in Manhattan, but no amount of money will make you feel like you’re home-field advantage for the Super Bowl.
So where does this leave us? If you are starting out and not yet wealthy, focus on quality instead of quantity. It really doesn’t matter what kind of seats you buy if you don’t have any fans to sit in them–yet.
The NFL isn’t like other professional sports. It’s not just the games that are big, the money is too. But there are winners and losers, and the difference between winning and losing is huge. And it’s not just a matter of good teams beating bad teams. It’s about which teams win and which teams lose, by how much.
In football there are many ways to lose. You might get sacked for a loss of yardage, you might get a penalty for a personal foul, you might fumble the ball and give it to your opponent – or your own teammate – on a big play, or you might make an error in the field position game (all those fumbles at the line of scrimmage). Or you might even lose because the snap goes wrong and the quarterback doesn’t get off in time to pass. The only way to be sure of winning a game is to carry out all those things on your side.
There is no equivalent option in business: no way to make sure you’ll win without carrying out all those things on your side; no way to guarantee failure without giving up or taking chances that pay off badly by paying off very badly. That’s why the NFL is so good and so profitable: it has invented itself as an entertainment business
I believe that most people would rather watch the game than listen to the announcers. I’ve noticed this in my own family. My wife and kids are not into sports; they are into music. They don’t want to watch the game.
But I watch the game, with my eyes and ears, even though I can’t understand what’s happening on the field. I am interested in how it works: how games are won and lost, who wins them, and why; how teams become good or bad; what makes a great quarterback; why football is played at all. I’m interested in those things for their own sake; for the way they affect my life in ways that aren’t obvious right away.
When a game ends, I don’t go out and buy tickets to the next one; that’s not what interests me. My interest is satisfied by watching highlights on ESPN or by reading news reports afterward on ESPN or somewhere else online.* But I still keep up with sports because of what they have given me: insight into human affairs and a place to talk about them with other people who care about them as much as I do.
It’s true that people don’t like getting old, but if you’re lucky enough to be old when people start watching