Stadium Debt Puts Pressure on NFL

Slow ticket sales portend TV blackouts
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MULTIPLE CITIES: A 15-year spate of stadium building has left NFL teams holding about $9 billion in debt that’s putting pressure on the league now that ticket sales have dropped. Bloomberg’s Aaron Kuriloff details how the debt service is burgeoning for NFL teams just as revenue growth is slowing. The situation is spilling over into labor dispute between players and owners, who are looking for concessions to save money.

Kuriloff also notes that ticket sales are down this year, that the owner of the Dallas Cowboys has yet to find a company to buy the rights to name the team’s new stadium, and that the New York Giants had 400 unsold tickets for its new elite Coaches Club. Those go for a one-time $20,000 fee plus $700 per game.

As of mid-September, as many as 12 teams had unsold seats, portending TV blackouts for those markets--meaning lost revenue for local stations. The league has already said it plans to stream blacked-out games on its Web site, NFL.com, for 72 hours after midnight on the eve of game play.

“Cowboys Under 60-Yard-Long HDTV Signaling Player-Pay Showdown,” by Aaron Kuriloff, is available at Bloomberg

(Image by Robert Forrer)
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