The Atlanta Falcons haven’t suffered a local TV blackout in an NFL season full of them, so that alone qualifies as a success at the gate.
But considering their 12-3 record, the Falcons rank a paltry 18th in attendance and have plummeted in value over the last 16 months. Owner Arthur Blank has to be discouraged with his team’s problems at the box office, and on the balance sheet, despite its on-field success. What more can he do?
Over at Forbes, Mike Ozanian has an answer – bring back Mike Vick. He doesn’t actually call for a trade, but does point out that even though the Falcons were worse in the standings during Vick’s tenure, they sold more tickets.
During Vick’s six years the team went 38-28 and filled the Georgia Dome to 96 per cent of its capacity. Matt Ryan is 32-15 in two-plus years but Atlanta has filled just 94 per cent of the seats. Those unsold seats cost millions of dollars in ticket, parking, concession, and merchandise revenue, according to the story.
But Forbes fails to mention that in between the Falcons’ quarterback transition NFL attendance took a major hit. Leaguewide attendance dropped 2 per cent between 2007 and 2010 (projections), from 68,702 to 67,313. That, of course, is a much better explanation for why the Falcons have filled 2 per cent less of their stadium, than any disdain for Matt Ryan.
Compared to leaguewide numbers, the Falcons attendance has remained steady. Sure, Matt Ryan isn’t as exciting as Mike Vick, but Atlanta can embrace a winner just as well as it once embraced a highlight-reel quarterback.
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