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The Patriots and Economics

Let me preface this article by saying this: The Patriots got outplayed and outcoached in the AFC Championship against the Denver Broncos. They had plenty of chances to win and squandered them. They didn’t deserve to be in the Super Bowl. I am disappointed like most of New England. Roger Goodell might not be, but the NFL as a whole will be.
Once Peyton Manning took that final knee to run out the clock on the Patriots’ Super Bowl hopes, something miraculous happened. Within minutes, ticket prices for Super Bowl 50 dropped 26 percent, the cheapest tickets dropping from $3,279 to $2,400. Those just seem like random numbers but when you look at it, those numbers speak volumes. This is not some random Super Bowl. This is Super Bowl 50. The game that marks half a millennium of NFL World Champions. It’s in beautiful Levi Stadium in sunny California. Surely this game cannot be affected by the disappearance of one team?
In 2015 the New England Patriots averaged the highest attendance of any team when playing on the road. That means the opposing team’s fans usual came out to see the game. Right around 75,000. Not only that, New England, since Gillette Stadium was built, has never failed to sell out a home game. That stadium was built in 2002. Every single time the Patriots host a regular season game, the place has been filled. Carolina is ninth in terms of opposing fan attendance on the road, while Denver ranks 25th.
What’s my point? People aren’t as interested if there isn’t a villain. Not just one, but a few. Outside of New England, I would say a significant amount of people want to see Peyton Manning win a Super Bowl and ride off into the sunset. New England fans only hate Peyton Manning because he has beat Brady three times in the playoffs, two with the Broncos. If there’s one thing Boston sports fans aren’t, its objective.
I would also say a significant amount of people would like a changing of the guard and to watch Cam Newton run all over the Broncos.
But Sam, people HATE Cam Newton. Then why didn’t they come to see him play this season? Because the only thing they hate is that he dances in the end zone. Then someone reminds that same person that Newton also hands the ball to a young kid in the crowd. Most people under the age of 40 like Cam Newton because he represents a generation and because he is immersed in today’s popular culture. The dancing, the fashion, the dance moves, all of popular culture reflects off of Cam Newton. He isn’t your Dad’s pocket passing specialist whose fundamentals carried their respective team. That makes old people uncomfortable, but who cares?
What the NFL always needs is a villain and who better than the practice taping, football deflating New England Patriots. Why the Patriots? Because it’s not just one villain. It’s Belichick, it’s Brady, it’s Bob Kraft, it’s the organization as a whole. The Patriots have won for so long who wouldn’t hate them? Well most of the country does hate them because they can’t seem to beat them. New England fans rally around that. They embrace the name “Evil Empire” and laugh in the faces of challengers mostly because they’ve earned it. So when the Patriots make the Super Bowl, EVERYONE watches. They want them to lose. They want to see Brady in disbelief and Belichick slowly walk off the field with his clipboard in hand. The rest of country wants that. Because everyone hates a villain, but every watches a villain.
If you still don’t believe me, try this number. Last season, in Super Bowl 49, where the Patriots squared off against the Seahawks, the average ticket price was $9,722. This year, in Super Bowl 50, a game that will no doubt involve plenty of montages from years past, the average ticket price is now $6,007. That is a 38 percent drop for anyone counting at home.
In the grand scheme of things, the NFL won’t suffer too much. An average NFL year is worth $2 billion. And when you sit down Sunday and take in Super Bowl 50, enjoy it. It will probably be a decent game. Or if you want to, go and watch it in person you can! Tickets still aren’t sold out…The Evil Empire strikes again.
Follow Sam on Twitter for more sports news and opinions: @Sam17Don.

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