or can will they manage to avoid it?
or can will they manage to avoid it?
THAT quarterback is NOT a Pro Bowl quarterback. Never was and never will be.
KCTV as a CBS affiliate carries most Chiefs games, and it’s certainly in the station’s interest to make sure the games are televised, no matter how poorly things may be going on the field. In addition to the 78,000-plus fans attending every home game, nearly 60 percent of all televisions in use at the time are tuned to the Chiefs.
A Chiefs telecast not only dominates the ratings, it also provides thousands of dollars in revenues from local advertising spots and serves as a promotional vehicle for the station’s other programming.
“It’s a football town, man,” said Kirk Black, KCTV’s general manager. “They’re still the Chiefs. The ratings are huge. We’re selling advertising like crazy. It’s a great product for us, and that’s really what matters.”
When Peterson arrived in Kansas City for the start of the 1989 season, the Chiefs’ season-ticket base had plummeted from the 72,000 that christened Arrowhead Stadium in 1972 to fewer than 25,000.
In just a few years, the Chiefs took over the town and became so popular that Arrowhead was expanded by 1,900 seats and there was a long waiting list for season tickets — a list the club says still exists. So if there’s a waiting list for tickets, why are seats available?
“A majority of the people on the waiting list are waiting for 50-yard-line seats, 40-yard-line seats, lower-level and club seats and don’t want anything to do with the 35,000 seats up above,” Peterson said.
Also, the Chiefs, by design, cut off season-ticket sales at 70,000 and make 9,541 tickets available on a per-game basis, or about 95,000 for the season.
“My philosophy since I’ve been here is let’s not sell every ticket as a season ticket because we need to keep getting people in here for a one-time experience that they will hopefully be excited about and want to bring their family back again,” Peterson said. “You’re always replenishing some of the older season-ticket holders.”
Chiefs season-ticket holders get first crack at tickets for college games at Arrowhead, including next year’s Border War rematch and the 2008 Big 12 championship game. For MU-KU, Chiefs season-ticket holders accounted for about 25,000 tickets, “which (became) four times their face value,” Peterson said.
“The same thing held true of the Green Bay game. That, in my 19 seasons, was the most opponent fans I’ve ever seen at Arrowhead. I would estimate 25,000. How did they get those tickets?
“I’m not naïve to think that Chiefs season-ticket holders don’t sell one or two games a year to probably pay for their season tickets and get a little Christmas bonus.”
Certainly, season-ticket holders sell some of their tickets for profit to brokers, particularly at the start of the season when anticipation is high, said Hal Wagner, owner of Ace Sports & Nationwide Tickets at Oak Park Mall.
But Wagner has stopped buying Chiefs tickets for the rest of the season and is selling most of what he has for face value.
“When you sell out a stadium 90 percent-plus to season-ticket holders, that doesn’t give you the attitude of the fans,” Wagner said. “It just means the stadiums are almost sold out before the season begins. Then you get a pulse for the market by speaking to people like me, who make a market in tickets.
“We could see a month ago that there wasn’t a lot of enthusiasm. There has been a very lethargic response to the team, even when they were one game in first place. It was like they were in last place. People weren’t talking about Chiefs.”
A year ago, the NFL set records by lifting the blackout for every game for 11 straight weeks and had just seven of 256 games blacked out. This season already, eight games have been blacked out — Jacksonville, despite its 7-3 start, will be blacked out today for the third time for its game against Buffalo; St. Louis and Oakland have been blacked out twice and Atlanta once.
Minnesota’s sellout streak of 101 games has come close to ending three times this season, but as with the Chiefs, local television stations and corporate sponsors snapped up the remaining tickets: to the opener against Atlanta, for the Nov. 4 San Diego game and about 4,000 tickets for last week’s game against Oakland. Still, the Vikings, like the Chiefs, 4-6, could face a blackout for one of their remaining three games, especially against Washington on Dec. 23.
The Rams had sold out every game since moving from Los Angeles to St. Louis in 1995 until Washington visited last Christmas Eve. This year, two of four games have been blacked out, Oct. 7 against Arizona and Oct. 28 vs. Cleveland.
“We’re not going to allow it to happen,” the Chiefs’ Newman said. “That’s great marketing for the Chiefs to have the game on TV. We want to have the games on television as well.”
It won’t help matters in the immediate future that the renovations at the Truman Sports Complex are causing some inconveniences for fans, and that’s why Peterson is pushing to shift one home game abroad in 2008 as part of the NFL’s program that will require each team to host at least one game overseas during the next 15 years.
Eventually, the renovations will reduce Arrowhead Stadium’s capacity by 2,400 seats to about 77,100, bringing down the threshold for lifting the blackouts.
“This is something we have to work at every year,” Peterson said. “We are in the sports-entertainment business. There are other choices for sports fans or any type of entertainment on Sundays. You can go to the opera, you can go to the play, the movies, to NASCAR if it’s here, you can go to the Royals when we play at the same time of year, and for most people, there are only so many spendable entertainment dollars.
“We’ve had a terrific run for 19 years, 17 of them sellouts, and we want to find ways to continue it.”
He won’t have to worry about blackouts, as far as Channel 5’s Black is concerned.
“If you look at our track record and the Chiefs’ track record, and the fans and the way they step up,” Black said, “the games are always on, and I anticipate that will be the case going forward.”