There is finally a bit of optimism in the seemingly never-ending labor dispute between NFL players and owners, but that shred of hope is not nearly enough to increase business for ticket brokers in what should be the happiest market in the NFL.
The Green Bay Packers, who won Super Bowl XLV by edging the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in February, have some of the most rabid and loyal fans in the NFL even in years in which they aren’t the reigning champions. But fans in Wisconsin seem content to wait until a new collective bargaining agreement is reached, the owners’ lockout is lifted and the season officially saved before they pony up the money to buy tickets on the resale market.
“No boost,” Josh Anderson of TicketKing in Wisconsin told TicketNews, referring to last week’s clandestine meetings between players and owners in Chicago. “Some of our regular people are buying and they’re confident that there are going to be games. And then I think a whole bunch of other people that call to buy tickets haven’t yet because they don’t want to deal with it until they know it’s 100 percent sure [there will be a season].”
Though NFL season ticket sales are at or slightly ahead of the pace set a year ago, Anderson said most of his brethren are reporting sluggish sales on the resale market. “I’ve talked to other guys — the NFL is slow everywhere,” Anderson said.
While business is slower for TicketKing — and certainly slower than Anderson would expect following a Packers championship — the bottom line hasn’t been impacted too badly because the prices for Packers tickets, both at the box office and on the resale market, soared following their Super Bowl win. The Packers announced in February they would increase tickets at Lambeau Field by between $2 and $4 per seat, and Anderson said the tickets he is selling are more expensive than a year ago.
Once a deal is struck and the longest labor dispute in NFL history is settled, business will pick up in a hurry for all ticket brokers, which is something Anderson awaits with equal parts anticipation and dread. “I think they’re going to get a deal done,” Anderson said. “It just seems like all this is doing is back-ending all our work. Once the [lockout] ends, all of a sudden it’s going to be really busy.
“There’s nothing you can do. Just try to get all your other work done and up to date. There’s nothing else to do.”