NFL – boo fucking hoo

If you know me, you know I LOVE football. If you know me, I HATE the NFL corporation. Why? Well, today they gave me a perfectly good example as to why Roger Goodell is the devil.

It looks like the NFL is broke, and we ALL need to help out.  I mean, why else would all of the following befall these saints?

You may know that the NFL hid concussions and those repercussions for years, resulting in many ex-players dead. You may know they got sued for anti-trust in their marketing strategies. You may know they charged New Jersey residents $25,000 just for rights to buy season tickets in the new stadium. If you paid the $25,000, that didn’t actually buy you a single season ticket. You may know that the NFL won’t allow a local game to be broadcast unless the stadium is sold out beforehand.

You may know they got sued by cheerleaders for unfair labor practices. They lost that case, and it resulted in them (the NFL) having to pay minimum wage to the cheerleaders.  Plus, there was the strike two years ago.  The NFL is broke people, goddamnit why can’t you see that?  Why else would they treat consumers and players like this?

You may know that, though they made 8 BILLION last year, they do not pay a penny of taxes. They are listed, quite amusingly, as a 501C charity. Like your local dog shelter.  Then, this report from Forbes says the average NFL team is worth 1.3 BILLION.  Ok, I can’t wrap my head around a figure like that.  Lemme grab my trusty calculator and put in 1.3 BILLION times 32 teams.  It’s 32, right?  Ok, and the answer on my calculator says ‘holy fuck that is a lot of money, bro’ and then it just exploded like mission impossible mission giver thingy.

That isn’t why I write today. That stuff is all in the past. Today, I learned that the NFL wants bands to pay them to play the superbowl. Yes, the NFL wants to charge bands to play the superbowl. The NFL is soliciting Katy Perry and Coldplay to ‘pay to play’. The way the NFL sees it, they are giving you a boost in your career. You owe them. If it weren’t for the NFL, you wouldn’t have even heard of these bands. Oh wait, you already know who they are? They are already successful? Well, did they make 8 Billion last year? Exactly.

When reaching out to artists, league representatives asked some acts if they would exchange a headlining slot for a portion of their post-Super Bowl tour earnings, or make another type of financial contribution to the NFL. Sources told the Journal that the suggestion, perhaps unsurprisingly, “got a chilly reception from the candidates’ representatives.”

Yes, chilly sounds appropriate. The NFL made 8 BILLION last year, they will charge a million and a half during the game to run a commercial… and they are not paying a penny in taxes. Boo fucking hoo. This is like C Montgomery Burns asking you for a fiver.  They made 8 Billion, Goodell was paid 32 million last year, and they are being sued just to provide minimum wage?  They don’t pay a penny in taxes?  Oh yeah, it’s quite the opposite.  US taxpayers bought all their stadiums.

It is such a painful dichotomy to love football and hate the NFL so much. It’s similar to my relationship with Ticketbastard and live rock music. I am so upset with Ticketbastard charging 150% service fees that I don’t even go to national concerts anymore. Einstein said something to the effect of ‘evil succeeds when good men to do nothing’. So, I don’t give them money… either of them. Neither should you. That is, until they get together with Ticketbastard to block out the sun.

* full disclosure, I did just buy a Manning Broncos jersey last year, but it was pirated.  🙂  Can’t afford the $150 it costs to buy a proper licensed one.  Wanna make a difference?  Sign this!

Another one tries to climb the fence

Nearly 20 years ago, Pearl Jam took on ticket prices.  They wanted to keep tickets to their shows at the $10 price point.  Not before fees, but for it to cost $10 total out the door*.  This was impossible because of service fees from ticket brokers.  Specifically, their battle was with Ticketmaster.

Ticketmaster would not negotiate the fees, so the band sought an alternative.  They found out that there was none.  So, they took their fight against the Ticketmaster monopoly to Congress.  Many bands supported Pearl Jam’s battle, and vowed to be there to support them.  Then, no one showed.  Are you going to testify against John Gotti?  Not if you want to live.

Since then, no one has tried to ‘climb the fence’ to get ticket prices down.  They all talk about it, but no one makes that walk to the fence.

Allow me to explain the expression ‘climb the fence’.  There is a parable about a group of apes in captivity.  There was a fence, and the top was electrified so they could not escape.  They did not know about the electricity initially.  One day, an ape decided he wanted out.  So, he climbed the fence and was electrocuted to death when he reached the top.  After that day, anytime anyone came near that fence, the other apes would attack them… so protect them.

This went on for years, until all of the original apes had been replaced by a newer generation.  From learning from the elders, the new apes learned quickly to never go near the fence.  In time, everyone knew to never go near the fence, even though they had no idea why.  The electrocution had happened generations earlier.  Basically, you didn’t need to know why the fence was so bad, you just knew to never go near it.

Well, Pearl Jam climbed that fence and got electrocuted.  The Justice Department chucked their lawsuit out, and that was a tragedy.  Since then, no one has gone near the fence.

20 years later, Kid Rock is climbing that fence.  Even better, he has a chance of making it out. Kid Rock is on tour this summer, and only charging $20 for tickets.  All seats, $20 out the door.  On top of that, he is capping beer prices at all venues at $4.  How does he do it?  Well, first off, he is willing to lose money for the principle of it.  I’ll let Kid Rock explain it, because he does it so well.

 “Athletes and musicians make astronomical amounts of money,” he tells Rolling Stone. “People get paid $100 million to throw a baseball! Shouldn’t we all take less and pass some of that money onto others? Think about firefighters, teachers and policemen. We should celebrate people that are intellectually smart and trying to make this world a better place.”

We’re all so overpaid. It’s ridiculous. People stopped going to concerts because they can’t afford them.

This is great.  God bless Kid Rock for offering to climb the fence for all of us.  I bought two tickets to his Denver show.  I may not even make it because of work. Still, it is absolutely worth $40 for me to support this business model.  I want the show to sell out and do ridiculously well, so other musicians might be empowered to one day climb the fence themselves.  See, Ticketmaster fees are now between 100 to 150% of face value on tickets.  Motley Crue and Creed lawn seats were $5 each across the country.  Those seats after fees were $25.

You may say “$25 is a deal to go see Motley Crue”.  I say “that is a 200% service fee.  What the fuck is that about?  If I am going to pay $25 to see Motley, that should go to the band.

This, of course, is not why I write.  This is also not why I use the apes climbing the fence metaphor.  Nope.  The reason I write is how people have reacted to this.  Kid Rock is charging a tenth of what other national bands charge.  He is a hero of the proletariat, right?  No.  This is what people have been saying online:

 people don’t have a job and are struggling to eat, and keep a roof over thier head. and he’s talking about concert ticket prices. a real republican isn’t he? like concert ticket pricing is going to change people lives. what a jerk!**

What the fuck, right?  What is this guy’s problem?  I can only surmise he has been beaten back from that fence so many times that he no longer questions why, like all the other apes of his generation.  So, thank you Kid Rock for trying again to climb the fence.  I am down here rooting for you, I promise.  If you go all Icarus on us, though, can I have your hat?

 

* last time I saw Pearl Jam, and this was ten years ago, tickets were $100 for just ok seats.  Shows you how far away the business has gotten

** that is verbatim, I left his typos and crappy in because he is an asshole.  Stay in school, kids!

 

Ticketmaster > Oh my god, I want them dead

Hello friends.  Had to share a little update with you about fraud and anti trust over at Live Nation/Ticketmaster.  You may note they recently merged, and you can guess how I feel about that.

It gets worse.  It is a bait and switch operation.  It is fraud, and my next step will be to the DOJ.

Here is why I want them fucking dead.  First off, TM/LN advertised $18 lawn seats for Denver outdoor shed ‘Fiddler’s Green’.  Every city has one.  So, I went to get Iron Maiden tickets online.  Tickets were $32 after fees… each.  See, the face value for my $18 lawn ticket was actually $23.25 > fuckers!

So, we went down to the box office to get the tickets in person.  Historically speaking, going to the box office meant you bypassed service fees.  Not anymore.  Since the merger, it is actually MORE expensive to pick them up at the box office. Fucking great, nice service dipships.   I can’t believe you have the balls to call any of this ‘convenience’.  So, I got all riled up and went online and got my tickets.  I am not going to miss Maiden, but shit like this is why I stopped going to concerts.  I wrote about it here, and here.  $18 lawn ticket cost out the door was $32.  Damn near a 100% mark up, for my convenience.

whatever.  Fuck them in the goat ass.   Then, a few days ago TM/LN announced ‘No Service Fee June‘.  My wife told me about it, and I knew immediately it was a crock of criminal shit.   So, I started digging.  I went to look up tickets for that exact same Maiden show.  The web page proudly announced ‘No Service Fee June’.  So, were lawn seats $18?  Nope.   Were they $23.25?  Nope, they are $31.  So, the ticket price went down one dollar, and they have the nutsack to declare on same said page:

NO SERVICE FEE TICKETS!
Choose your ticket quantity and price then proceed to checkout to purchase your NO SERVICE FEE TICKETS.

So, they doubled the price of the ticket, and then dropped the service fees.  What a bunch of assholes.  Now they are riding high on a public wave of benevolence.   Well,  I knew them too well to play fair, and now you do too.

Friday Fives

1. In the rock business, for the longest time,  “Floyd” ruled.  Who rules now?

to the scale of Floyd or Zeppelin? I don’t think that exists right now.  The closest would be Springsteen or U2.  Both are amazing live.  In fact, I have seen almost all of those bands live.  All other three, and for the Zepp, I did see Page and Plant live.  So, that mostly counts.  It’s tough to be a live music fan, the big shows are hundreds of bucks each, and Ticketbastard now charges 100% fees.  So, the business of rock is suffering.

2.  What is the secret vice that can only be found in the suburbs?

ClownFight

3. Do any current devices use the 9 volt?  Where does the juice come from?

being a guitarist, I have zillions.  about five petals, and my wireless rig.   It sucks, 9 volts are incredibly expensive.  About $5 each, and they don’t last long. While all my stuff at home and in the truck is rechargeable, that won’t work for stage gear.  They drain too quick.  Luckily, I bought this great product this week that powers all my pedals off one power line.

4. What job would you never want to have to do?

Fishmonger

5. What is your favorite flower?

The Columbine – it’s the state flower of Colorado, and rightfully so

I got your convenience charge right here

When Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged, they promised to use economies of scale to serve the customer base.  This is what the asshat of a CEO, Barry Diller, said about service fees and their impact on ticket prices.

Ticketmaster does not set prices. Live Nation does not set ticket prices. Artists set prices. Everyone else is just a distributor or service provider to artists and content owners.

Barry Diller is an asshat, and the reason why Pearl Jam took these crooks to Congress years ago.  Ticketmaster has a HUGE impact on ticket prices.  A lawn ticket is $18.50 before Ticketmaster, $36 after.  That is a pretty big impact.  Double the price.  I can’t conceivably think of a bigger impact that doubling the goddamn price.

Indeed, Ticketmaster does not set prices.  However, their impact is felt.  Here are some examples of the service fees, which now stretch to well over 100%.  I will only reference Denver ticketing experiences, because I am in Denver.  So, these are personal experiences with , and actual figures.  Last summer, Ticketmaster sold tickets to Motley Crue’s big tour.  They were playing a ‘shed’, which every big city has.  It’s outdoors: half seating and half lawn.  Ticketmaster and the venue (Fiddler’s Green) were offering $10 lawn seats.  That is a crazy good deal.

Problem is, the tickets actually cost $25 each after fees.  Yes.  That is a 150% service fee mark up.  “Convenience” indeed.  I went this weekend to buy Iron Maiden tix (for the same venue).  Those lawn seats were $18 each face value.  Online, those $18 tickets were $32 each.  So, I decided to wait and drive to the venue and buy the tickets directly from the venue box office.  It used to be that these tickets didn’t have fees.  Wrong.  Since the merger with Live Nation, it now costs MORE to buy tickets directly at the box office.  The $18 tickets cost $36 at the box office.  That is a 100% service fee.

Where the hell are the tea party folks on this?  Ticketmaster is a monopoly.  I can not buy tickets through any other avenue, I have tried.  They are more expensive at the theatre, and the band’s website directs me to Ticketmaster as well.   Could you imagine if you went to Burger King and you ordered the #1 combo?  It says $4.99.   Now, imagine if they told you that would be $10.  You would laugh and tell them to kiss your backside.  Guess what, imagine there is no competition.  The only restaurant that is open is Burger King and they charge a 100% convenience fee for heating and distributing your burger to you.

Now that Ticketmaster and Live Nation have merged, all consumer choices are out the window.  I just want every consumer out there to know what is happening.  If you are going to a concert, expect service fees to be between 80 to 100%.  I had also heard that Creed was selling $5 lawn seats to their shows, which were costing $30 after fees.  However, I can’t substantiate this because Creed sucks.  So, I would never buy a ticket for them.  The ticket prices referenced above were done by me… this isn’t ‘friend of a friend’ data.

* Here is something funny.  Right here at this site, two years ago, I was railing against 40% service fees.  Read here.  Read my prophetic words:

Live Nation will now monopolize every aspect of the business, one can only hope they will pass on a modicum of the savings to us.

I was super correct on that one.  Want to know what ‘every aspect of the business’ means?  Google the term ‘360 deal’.  Wait, I have done it for you.  I have started a Facebook group to protest the fee escalation.  I know it won’t do shit, but it we can get it up to a million or more, it might send a lesson to the greedy suits.  Here is the name of the group, please join us, and forward it around.   Stop Ticketmaster’s 100% service fees

* update Oct 2010

I was… er… Correct.  Ticketmaster is being sued now for their bullshit service fees. The chickens have come home to roost.  I sure would like to go back to seeing concerts.

Update Nov 2011

I was right.  I was correct.  They were wrong, and guilty.  They were caught stealing and lying about service fees.  Guilty guilty guilty.

Let’s go see a football game!

Just kidding, can’t afford it.  Turns out, few can.  Know what it costs to get a pair of season tickets for a Giants game next year in the new stadium?  $23,000

I can’t explain the math, but it’s valid.  Read the source piece here.  I don’t even go to single games.  The actual tickets are generally about $80 for ok seats.  Parking anywhere within half mile of the stadium is $40 to $60.  Water is $4.  Beers are $8.  Plus, it is usually unpleasantly cold.  In addition, the replays suck (and are few) on the jumbotron.  The announcing is more of a distraction than compliment.

So, I watch the games at home.  Have the high def TV (the cost of going to two games).  Have free parking.  I have an unobstructed view of every play.  Plus, is always 72 degrees in my family room.  I get to have the dogs (a big no no at the stadium since the incident last year) with me too.  Beers are cheap as shit, like $1 a piece.   To get a beer, I am not gone for 15 minutes.  With the DVR, I make my own replays, and can pause the game to use the bathroom.  I don’t worry about drinking and driving, nor do I worry about traffic.

I guess this has occurred, finally, to people other than me.

“I think it’s disgusting,” says McNally, who adds that he feels worse for longtime fans who have been season-ticket buyers through the good and the bad. “A lot of dedicated fans are asking, ‘When is enough enough?’ People are saying to themselves, ‘How do I justify $23,000 on Giants tickets?’

This reminds me of the concert industry, which I have written about for years.  While minimum wage went from $3.35 to $5.65, tickets to see the Police live went from $12 to $250.  Some deal, eh?  Even my beloved Pearl Jam f’d me.  They went to Congress to fight Ticketmaster (rightfully so) so that they could sell their concert tickets for $10 each.  This was back when minimum wage was $5.65

The last time I saw Pearl Jam, I got tickets straight from the band (skipping Ticketmaster).  Know now much those seats were?  $100 each.  Know how much minimum wage was?  $5.65

I don’t much to go to see concerts anymore for that reason.  We can only vote with our dollars.

* post script.  It’s about a week later when I read this.  Personal something Licences for the Jets hit $65,000 at auction.  That doesn’t include tickets, those are $700 each.  For the Jets.  The fucking Jets.  Before the Favre euphoria, rememer that this team has always sucked.  Their qb was 44 (Testeverde).  The replaced him with the rookie youngblood, who is 39 (Favre).

aw crap, I was right again

Apparently, the music touring industry is suffering because of higher ticket prices. Yup, the average ticket price keeps rising and it is driving away concert goers. Here is what they say:

But even with fewer tickets sold, the box office saw a more than 10 percent increase in gross receipts over 2004’s total of $2.8 billion, thanks to a rare perfect storm of several major acts hitting the road at once, not to mention the continually creeping average ticket price for the top 100 tours, which rose to a record $57 last year, a nearly $5 increase over 2004.

 

Either way, the declining sales and increased average ticket price were bad news for the industry — and consumers.

“We’ve been seeing that trend for a number of years now and it’s not good,” said Bongiovanni. “It’s great to shout about how much we grossed this year, but when you’re doing it with less people, that doesn’t bode well for the industry.”

Hhmmm, it seems this issue has been escalating considerably since 2004. If only someone had the foresight back then to tell these greedheads they would be way more successful if they charged less. Oh wait, I did. Click here for my article from summer of 2004. Personally, I stopped going to concerts for the most part.

Oh, you will see that there were some ‘record sales’ this year also. That is because U2 and Rolling Stones sold out every show with an average ticket price of $97 (and that is before ticketmaster fees… that $97 ticket was probably $140 after fees). Don’t you even get me started on the whole ticketmaster thing, either. My mama taught me well. She said “Lono, if you can’t say something nice about someone… then you must be talking about Ticketmaster.”