September 27, 2009, - 1:24 pm
**** SCROLL DOWN FOR UPDATE ****
As readers know, I’m a vehement supporter of the free market. That includes corporations’ right to be boneheaded and drive themselves out of business.
In this case, the boneheaded move is the National Football League’s “blackout.” Problem is, the NFL has no chance of going out of business, since it’s basically an illegal anti-competitive collusion of several corporations (i.e., teams) that all abide by its silly policies. And the government stands by and allows it.
The NFL blackout–in which teams aren’t allowed to broadcast home games on television if the game isn’t sold out by a certain time a few days before the game–is in effect, today, in Detroit. Like the rest of the country, Detroit is in desperate economic times, but it’s hit far worse than the rest of the country. We’re talking post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans conditions. People can’t afford tickets, no matter how cheap. And that’s not to mention $20-$40 for parking.
People can’t afford to buy tickets. You know, the same people who financed Ford Field–the palace owned by billionaires, where multi-millionaires go to work a few Sundays out of the year. Yes, hundreds of millions in Michigan Economic Development Corporation funds went to pay for this stadium, where the blacked-out Lions game is being played today. MEDC money was meant for a rainy day. But every day, it’s raining cats and dogs when sports teams and their gazillionaire players come-a-callin’ (in this case it was the Lions ownerFord Family, but the MEDC paid for most of the billionaire Ilitch family’s Comerica Park, where the Detroit Tigers play, too). And the poor working stiffs who financed it are “paid back” by being blacked out and unable to see the game. Yes, the chief sponsors of Taxpayer Field are shut out of the stadium.
It’s time that individual NFL teams get to decide for themselves whether or not they want to show a game. And time for poor shnooks in trailer parks and middle-class Americans throughout the country to stop financing palatial arenas for sports’ corporate welfare, then get the games blacked out on them because they won’t shell out even more cash to these greedy fatcats.
The NFL blackout isn’t only an anti-competitive violation of anti-trust laws. It’s insensitive to current economic conditions. In any other industry (where they don’t have illegal monopolies the government allows and ignores), a business which is insensitive to the times, dies.
Time for the NFL to meet reality.
On the bright side, since the Lions have now lost 19 games in a row, perhaps the NFL is taking pity on Detroiters and sparing them yet more demoralization. But I never attribute such altruism to the No Fun League.
What do you think of the NFL blackout policy?
**** UPDATE: HA! The Lions had their first victory in 20 games, today, beating the Washington Redskins 19-14. I couldn’t care less. But others in the Detroit area do care and it would have been a nice morale boost for them, had they been able to watch it.
Tags: anti-competitive, anti-trust, black-out, blackout, Comerica Park, Debbie Does Sports, Detroit, Detroit Lions, football, Ford family, Ford Field, Ilitch family, illegal monopoly, MEDC, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Monopoly, National Football League, NFL, NFL blackout, No Fun League, Pro Football, Sports, Taxpayer Field