You know it has gotten bad when the NFL thinks that they will be able to ask artists who are performing for halftime at the league’s big game to pay for the privilege.
That is what has been talked about since the list of potential acts was released for this year’s event. Representatives for all involved were a little chilly to the idea, as you can imagine.
I know that the NFL is the biggest thing that there is in this country when it comes to sports. They are bigger than Major League Baseball, the NBA, golf, NASCAR and many other professional sports leagues. However, lets not forget that the NFL had humble beginnings in the 1920’s with teams coming from a wide range of cities like Canton, Portsmouth, OH, Providence, Dayton, OH and others. Lets not forget that they have come a long way since the days of teams that would fold mid-season due to lack of interest.
One other thing that the NFL would do well to remember is that while they have a business model that lets them make wads of cash on our love for a team, they really are not one of the best forms of the sport in our modern day. When you see NFL franchises struggle to fill seats (yes, I’m talking to you Jacksonville), and really only have around 60,000 of them to fill and then compare that with what happens every Saturday during the NCAA season when football havens across the country fill up with hundreds of thousands of fans, then you get a clue as to what is really big in the minds of people. Ask anyone in Columbus, Ohio, Knoxville, Tennessee or Ann Arbor, Michigan what is their favorite place to be on game day and you’ll get an idea of what people care about.
As a fan of the product that the NFL has, it pains me to say that the college product is probably more popular, but it is. Because of that, the NFL needs to remember that they are playing with fire when they ask an artist to pay them for the privilege of playing music in front of America. Sometime, people are going to stop doing it because something will finally give. The NFL needs to remember its humble roots. That has allowed NASCAR to survive after so many fans bailed on them several years ago. The NFL has never been as popular as they are now, but it is only a matter of time before something else gets big. When that happens, they may find themselves begging fans to come around.
Give it time or remember what you are doing and where you came from. Chances are, going back to that are not too far behind if you forget yourself and ask for more than you should.
(accompanying picture by flickr user Matt McGee, license here)