Whose Business Hurts If There is No 2011 Football Season?

Tuesday nights I am a panelist on Pro Football NYC presented by Football Reporters Online that airs on Blog Talk Radio.  We talk Jets and Giants football and it is usually a lively discussion.  Bu since the lockout, there has not been much to talk about.  Sure there was the NFL Draft, the court dates, Jets West, Eli Manning holding some practices in Hoboken, and some other tidbits.  But there has not been any concrete story to talk or report on.

Last Tuesday we did a show on the fly.  A lot of the topics were done on the cuff.  It was a great show, do not get me wrong, but we were grasps at straws for topics.  All of a sudden I thought of an issue regarding the lockout.  An issue some may have touched on but very, very few report on.  We all know the players, teams, and the NFL are being hit financially by the lockout and possibly no 2011 NFL season.  But what about the other businesses that derive revenue off football before, during, and into the post season?  This can range from sports bars to merchandisers.  From the NFL Sunday Ticket package to beer sales.

There are many businesses that look forward to not just football on Sunday’s, but for the season.  Many start to see sales increase and more visits to their website the closer it gets to the preseason.  There is a certain itch people get.  When you know your draft for fantasy football is around the corner, so is the preseason.  Many businesses gear up because they know fans and customers will be spending extra dollars on football related businesses.

But, if there is no 2011 season, many businesses will see a downturn.  There will be losses in sales, establishments will not be visited as much, food service workers may not receive the same level of tips on Sunday, on top of a chain reaction of businesses losing football season generating revenue.  Let us do a rundown of some businesses that might be affected.  If you believe more might be affected, feel free to contact me or list them in the comments.

Sports Bars/Restaurants
This seems to be the obvious place to start.  Every Sunday, if one is not home or at the game, one is out with friends to watch the game and throw back some beers and wings.  There are countless places across the country where many go to watch their favorite team and other games.  There is the 1 PM game, 4:15 PM game, and the 8:30 Sunday night game.  We can not forget about Monday Night Football here as well.  The sports bars always play more than one game to keep fans there and ordering.  These are times where people flock en mass and order up round after round and appetizer after appetizer.

These establishments know they will be busy and place larger orders so there is enough on hand.  They expect to make more money than usual.  Beer, liquor, dinners, appetizers, and so much more are expected to be ordered in mass quantities.  Servers and bartenders expect to make more than usual as patrons are expected to fill some of these places.  I would not be surprised if some make several hundred in a matter of hours.

Sights like these could be a memory on Sunday's during the season

Now, if there is no football, those places will not be as busy.  Beer sales will be down which will affect the beer companies.  If the same quantities are not ordered as on a football Sunday the suppliers to these establishments will also see a decrease in sales.  Servers will see a decrease in tips and revenue.  Some bars and restaurants may not need extra help and not have as many workers on the schedule.  Anyone associated with business at a bar or restaurant on a football Sunday will see a drop in business that day.

Sports Merchandise/Sporting Goods
This is a business that I am sure has started to take a hit.  Before any season begins many go out to get their new jerseys, hats, shirts, sweatpants, sweatshirts, flags, magnets, and anything else that shows how much of a fan they are for their team.  This is the time many stock up, to find the latest and greatest to showcase their team spirit.  But if there is no game to attend, no tailgating, no bar to go to in pride, does it matter if you went and bought the latest and greatest?

Many fans will go out and buy certain draft picks jerseys before or during the preseason.  With the draft picks not signed to their teams how could they make these jerseys?  We are less than 100 days away from the start of the 2011 season and I am sure not much merchandise is being moved right now.  Many are content to wear or use the items they have had for a while now.

With no football games of any kind, there is no merchandise to sell at any stadium.  There is a loss right there.  Not just to the companies like Starter, Reebok, Big Apple, and everyone else that put out the clothes and sporting goods, but the teams and league itself.  Reebok has an exclusive contract with the NFL to manufacturer all NFL apparel.  They will take the biggest hit.  If Reebok does not make a profit, neither will the NFL or the teams.  It is the trickle down effect.

Will fans still purchase merchandise if there is no football?

The NFL makes money off the licensing agreement.  They also see a piece off what Reebok sells.  The teams also see a piece of anything that is sold with their name on it.  But with no season for fans to show off their wares at a game or tailgating, what good is it?  To have it and hold onto it for next season?  Some will still go out and buy what they can in hopes their is a season.

Let us take an example.  Reebok has replica jerseys from $55-$85 a piece.  Actual jerseys can range from $100 on up, depending on where you buy it.  If at minimum 100,000 jerseys are bought at those prices you can see the millions that could be made if there is a football season.  We are not taking into account the other sporting goods and t shirts, hats, jackets, sweatshirts, and countless other merchandise.

For those who tailgate who adorn their home with the latest wares, there is a loss there.  Many could still just use what they have and not bother to get anything new.  No need for the new grill, tent, cooler, flags, chairs, tables, or anything else many add to their tailgate.  Now this may not be a big business changer but if companies do produce more because they see a slight increase because of football, they may not happen now.

Advertisers
Think of all the commercials one sees during a football game.  The car commercials, beer commercials, electronic ads, and so much more.  If they are not buying the time, the network does not get paid to air those ads.  The companies whose ads are on TV may not be able to reach their target audience they get with football.  They may still run ads, but not the same volume as they would during a Giants vs Cowboys game.  Not having the right placement for ads can hurt sales for a business.

The other way advertisers can be hurt is no one at the stadium sees their logo or ads.  There are sponsors for post game shows, pre game shows, stadium entrances, and the stadiums themselves.  There are so many ads being paiod for at the stadium.  If no season, no ads and the teams lose out on that advertising revenue.  Pepsi may see a drop in soda sales on Sunday.  Companies who have promotional days will not be able to get their name out to fans.

Advertising helps to bring in revenue teams and networks count on.  Without that, they need to find alternate methods to keep their advertisers happy.  Look for ways or broadcasts to push their brand and still reach the public and demographic they look to get from football.  Teams and the NFL are already cutting costs how they can.  If they can not generate revenue from outside sources, employees may not return to work sooner than they think.

There could be no one around to hear or see ads for products and not visit merchandise stands

Now, this could all change if there is a football season this year.  But even if there is a shortened season and no preseason, businesses will still see a small effect.  I know there are many other businesses that will see the effect if there is no season.  I just wanted to bring attention to what could be a loss of revenue to other businesses rather than just the NFL, teams, and players.

Many are out of work or have seen a loss of income due to the down economy.  If there is no 2011 season, many will feel the chain reaction of the lockout into their businesses.  Many look forward to certain sports seasons.  Some companies cater to those who are sports fans or involved with teams and leagues.  If there is no season, I am confident people will feel a hit to their bottom line.

Everyone wants the 2011 season to happen.  There are a few who will remain nameless who do not care if the season happens.  But from the fans, to advertisers, to business owners, to those who make any profit off the football season, we all want to see kick off.  Sports writers and beat reporters more than anyone want the season.  They need training camp and the season to have fresh material to write about.  No one more than the fans want to see the season happen.  Well, maybe not more than the players, or those who will see an increase to their bottom line.

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