As creep closer to the three month mark of the NFL lockout, it was not terribly long ago that we learned that despite the work stoppage, season ticket sales across the entire league were up over last year. It did seem odd, but people want their tickets and many clubs are still expecting money to be paid. Now apparently, the story has changed.
The league now says that the numbers reported previously were based on sales through May 6. According towhat was reported, adjusting for numbers through the end of May, the sales are now down and that, more importantly for the franchises, suites and club seats "have slowed to a crawl."
I have no reason to disbelieve this report, but I think the reason it is coming out now is because it really puts the owners in an embarrassing spot when there are teams (like the Cardinals) who are reducing salaries during the lockout and requiring furloughs.
Now I have been leaning more on the side of the owners throughout the process, provided the lockout was always meant as a way to keep the players negotiating, but the constant attempt to spin information is getting absurd.
We know you want a better labor deal. To cut costs you are cutting back on things during the lockout. I get it. But if you are going to lock out the players, stick to it and don't try to sugarcoat things. Instead of backtracking and saying, "Oh yeah. those numbers were incomplete," you should have said in the first place, "well, sales are up right now and hopefully it will continue, and this shows how important it is that both parties get a deal worked out soon because the fans are telling us very clearly that we need to have football in 2011."
That would have been a better way to go about it. You simply cannot expect it both ways. The owners chose to lock out the players as a labor tool to negotiate. But if you do that, you have to deal with whatever criticism you take.
Now is the time to focus energy on coming up with an acceptable offer.