By Ken Reed
The National Football League is three-fourths through its preseason (read: exhibition) schedule, which means NFL fans are three-fourths through the latest version of one of the greatest fan scams in sports history.
Season-ticket holders — pro football’s most loyal fans — across the country continue to be forced (extorted would actually be the more accurate term) by NFL owners to pay full price for preseason games, a training camp product that bears little resemblance to regular season games. Basically, NFL preseason games are scrimmages in which a team’s starters either don’t play at all, or play one or two quarters of the game. Preseason games are are held in big stadiums and and the players don sharper uniforms than what they wear in practice but those are the only things that differentiate these exhibitions from training camp scrimmages.
This year’s preseason games have the added bonus of featuring substitute referees as the NFL continues to deal with its labor impasse with the regular game officials. The majority of the subs are clearly out of their element.
The price of the cheapest ticket for these fiascos is $50 or more, with most tickets going in the $100+ range. Parking and concessions cost the same as they do for December games having playoff implications.
The upcoming Week 4 slate of preseason games might be the ultimate example of sticking it to the fans. Virtually every team’s head coach has stated that their starters will be rested this week and not play. Which means that fans will be paying full-price — a price point that leaves low-income and increasingly middle-income families on the outside — for a game that will feature a lot of players who will be cut in the next couple weeks and won’t even be wearing an NFL uniform when the regular season actually begins.
The NFL policy of forcing fans to pay full-price for these meaningless scrimmages is further proof that NFL owners’ greed knows no bounds.
— Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans
Sports Forum Podcast
Episode #10 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: An Issues Discussion With Paul Dolan – Dolan is the Cleveland Indians Owner and CEO. He discusses the use of Native American names and logos by sports teams and the decisions to drop the Chief Wahoo logo and the upcoming change to the team name. Other baseball topics include health and safety, possible MLB rule changes and youth participation in the sport.
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Episode #9 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Talking Sports Issues With Ralph Nader – Nader is a consumer advocate and was named one of the “100 Most Influential Americans of the 20th Century” by Time magazine. He is the founder of League of Fans.
Episode #8 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: How Can We Save College Sports From Overcommercialization and Professionalization? – The guest is Dr. David Ridpath, a sports business professor and past president of the Drake Group
Episode #7 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Brain Trauma and CTE Risk in Sports With Dr. Ann McKee – Dr. McKee works in the field of neuropathology and has demonstrated that “mild” repetitive head trauma can provoke chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a devastating neurodegenerative disease.
Episode #6 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: The Need for Quality Physical Education in Our Schools is Greater Than Ever – The guest is Clayton Ellis, one of our nation’s leading advocates for getting our young people to be more physically active.
Episode #5 – League of Fans’ Sports Forum podcast: Youth Sports with Positive Coaching Alliance Founder Jim Thompson – Thompson started Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) in 1998 to help create a movement to transform the culture of youth sports from “win-at-all-costs” to a positive, character-building experience.
Media"How We Can Save Sports" author Ken Reed appears on Fox & Friends to explain how there's "too much adult in youth sports."
Ken Reed appears on Mornings with Gail from KFKA Radio in Colorado to discuss bad parenting in youth athletics.
“Should College Athletes Be Paid?” Ken Reed on The Morning Show from Wisconsin Public Radio
Ken Reed appears on KGNU Community Radio in Colorado (at 02:30) to discuss equality in sports and Title IX.
Ken Reed appears on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (at 38:35) to discuss his book The Sports Reformers: Working to Make the World of Sports a Better Place, and to talk about some current sports issues.
Sports & Torts – Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans – at the American Museum of Tort Law
League of Fans is a sports reform project founded by Ralph Nader to fight for the higher principles of justice, fair play, equal opportunity and civil rights in sports; and to encourage safety and civic responsibility in sports industry and culture.
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