Coming off a season where the soft economy only played a negligible role because overall attendance numbers were generally flat, the 2010-11 National Football League (NFL) schedule appears to hold a lot of promise for ticket brokers.
The league released next season’s schedule yesterday, April 20, and the campaign will begin on September 9 with a re-match of the NFC title game between the Minnesota Vikings and the eventual Super Bowl Champions, the New Orleans Saints.
With the blockbuster trade of quarterback Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles to the divisional rival Washington Redskins, the two games those teams will play against each other will be hot sellers on the secondary ticket market.
The league will try something new this season: all games in the final weekend will be divisional games, which should help make those games more popular with fans, because they could be more meaningful for each team’s final record. Also, the suspension of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for at least four games at the beginning of the season, and possibly six, could be a boon for brokers because more fans may be looking to unload tickets. But, if the team jumps out to a good start in his absence, those tickets could be worth considerably more as games approach.
“I’m bullish on the NFL,” Joel Schwartz, owner of Michigan-based Big Time Worldwide, told TicketNews. Schwartz is heavy into tickets for his hometown Detroit Lions and even made money on them last year despite the team’s bad record.
Overall, Schwartz believes the league will remain a strong ticket draw on the secondary market because a lot of brokers hold considerable numbers of season tickets which allow them to plan around specific inventory. He said a team to watch will be the Dallas Cowboys, not only because the team is projected to be good again, but also because it will host the Super Bowl this season.
“Can they rack it up good enough this season to play the Super Bowl at home? It’ll be interesting to watch,” he said.
Leor Zahavi, owner of Admit One in New York, told TicketNews that the NFL remains the only major professional sport that has been a consistent money earner for him and other brokers, even during the slow economy.
“The NFL is not as problematic a ticket as the NBA, MLB and NHL,” Zahavi said, adding that he lost money last season on the New York Yankees, despite the team moving into a new stadium.
Unlike the Yankees, the New York Jets and Giants should give Zahavi and other brokers better numbers this fall as the teams move into their new stadium. The Jets open the season with the Baltimore Ravens and divisional foe, the New England Patriots, while the Giants will host the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers, among others this season.
“The schedule looks good for both teams this year,” Zahavi said. “The Giants I don’t worry about, but I’m curious about the Jets. If they get off to a good start, we’ll see a lot action.”