Poor attendance figures at NFL stadiums have been the focus of further discussion following a spat involving President Trump.
Several American football stars have caused controversy for kneeling during the US national anthem, which is played at the start of NFL games. The actions are a protest about perceived discrimination against people of colour in the US, particularly by police.
The protest has been slammed by President Trump, who tweeted: “NFL attendance and ratings are WAY DOWN. Boring games yes, but many stay away because they love our country.”
While it is unknown how much of an affect the protests have had on viewing ratings and attendances, there are certainly concerns about crowd figures at some stadiums.
It was reported last week that the two new Los Angeles franchises had recorded dismal figures for their opening home games, with the LA Chargers unable to even sell out the 25,000-seat StubHub Center.
On Thursday, the San Francisco 49ers officially claimed an attendance of 70,000 for their game with the Chargers, despite TV viewers clearly being able to see that the stadium was largely empty.
Some of the best seats in the lower bowl at Levi’s Stadium were left untaken, while tickets were available on secondary markets for as little as $14.
The New York Post has also reported dismal ticket sales at the New York Jets, whose poor results have not helped in attracting crowds.
The newspaper reports that corner endzone seats for the game against the Miami Dolphins, with a face value of $173, were going for 55 per cent less at $78, according to SeatGeek. Tickets at the 50-yard-line valued at $75 have dipped 24 per cent to $42
The New York Post also reported that not a single Jets player is ranked in the Top 50 in player products — ranging from jerseys to hats – as fans refuse to back the team with merchandise buys.
While there may be problems in the NFL’s home patch, President Trump’s comments clearly don’t apply to interest in the UK. The Jacksonville Jaguars’ defeat of the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday attracted a record attendance for an NFL game in the UK, with 84,592 present at Wembley.
IMAGE: Kent Porter (Twitter)