PORTLAND, Ore.( TheStreet) -- If the National Football League is serious about wanting to put more fans in the seats, maybe it should figure out how to make mobile apps more of an integral part of the game and less of a distraction from it.
NFL game attendance jumped from a post-recession low of 17.14 million in 2010 to 17.3 million last year, but was still well short of the record 17.6 million that came out in 2006 and 2007. There were nearly 1 million empty seats at regular season games last year, up 50% from just four years earlier. Meanwhile ticket revenue has stagnated from increases of 7.2% annually from 2004 through 2008 to just 2.1% from 2008 through last year, according to Team Marketing Report.
Maybe it has something to do with the fact that NFL games accounted for 31 out 32 of the most-watched TV broadcasts last fall and more than doubled the prime-time viewership of Fox, ABC, CBS and NBC. Collectively, 21st Century Fox (FOXA), CBS (CBS) and Comcast's NBC (CMCSA) agreed to pay the NFL $28 billion for broadcast rights through 2022. Walt Disney (DIS) has a separate $1.9 billion annual deal for Monday Night Football, while DirecTV (DTV) has a $1 billion per season agreement for the NFL Sunday Ticket package that is set to become even more lucrative once the current contract expires in 2015.
Even NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell blamed high-definition broadcasts of games for the league's attendance woes in certain markets back in November."One of our biggest challenges in the league is the experience at home," Goodell said. "HD is only going to get better."