The Spectacle Blog

Occupy the Super Bowl

By on 9.23.13 | 3:44PM

Jason Gay of the Wall Street Journal argued yesterday for a free Super Bowl, claiming that “the potential benefit is enormous” and “the Super Bowl becomes something even better: the people's game” as a result.  

An “annual conversation about how much each fan base is willing to be gouged” is utterly uninteresting to Gay. He suggests instead:

Why not give them (the tickets) away? The NFL can withstand the hit. The ticket lottery's still a ticket lottery; but now you can get your ticket for free (the excitement will be Wonka-esque). Pass on the cost of the lost revenue to sponsors—free tickets will only make the Super Bowl more attractive as an event. The league can still give away as many tickets to sponsors as it wants—those are free, too. Sponsor a mammoth amount, you get one of those fancy-pants boxes. Cut down on outside agency scalping by making all tickets non-transferable—all of them must be picked up on game day inside the stadium. Can't go? Your ticket gets kicked back into the lottery.

It appears Gay wishes he were Charlie and the Meadowlands this coming February is his proverbial Chocolate Factory. Free is the answer, not the $2,600 price tag on the premium seating at a premiere event. He doesn’t even mention that there are in fact cheaper tickets to be had (40 percent of general admission seats will be under $1,000).

Concerned about costs? Don’t worry, the NFL is rich. And if even they can’t afford it, just pass the buck to the sponsors by bribing them with as many free tickets as is needed.

But this is all for the people, right? More likely, it would result in a Super Bowl entirely attended by bribed, mammoth-spending sponsors.

To cut down on the big business perception he has of the NFL, Gay suggests using big business to make it seem as if big business is not involved, that is, making everything seem free through sponsorships. All of this has no effect other than to increase the fan interest in the festivities. And no black markets will form because of his “brilliant” mechanism of “making all tickets non-transferable.”

Going to a Super Bowl depends, then, entirely on whether you’re a rich sponsor or a random lottery winner: Hooray for the people. He claims the game “is a license to print money" and that "[t]ickets at the stadium are just a fraction of the revenue” without substantiating or elaborating. Printing money? What?

Mr. Gay actually spelled out the way things work in the real world—most likely unbeknownst to himself:

For $2,600 you could fly yourself and a friend to Paris and stuff your face at Le Chateaubriand. You could charter a sailboat in the Caribbean, stare into the night sky and contemplate the meaning of the Jacksonville Jaguars. You could buy 10,400 25-cent gum balls. You could also not spend the $2,600 on a ticket to a football game, which is the advice my prudent father-in-law would surely give.

By all means, sir, be prudent and don’t spend your money on the ticket; contemplate the Jacksonville Jaguars as you stare steely-eyed into the setting sun. Or, better yet, just watch from home and be content with that. The Super Bowl is no McDouble, it’s a filet mignon.

Please don’t turn it into a McDouble.

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