(Jerry Jones photos courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys)
Talk of Fame Network
It’s a simple question: Is the NFL becoming a studio game? And Dallas owner Jerry Jones has a simple answer.
No. And it can't be.
Jones, one of two contributor candidates for the Hall-of-Fame's Class of 2017, insists that NFL owners cannot allow a vastly improved home experience – replete with high-def TVs and no costs for parking, tickets and concessions – to supplant the stadium experience … and he explained why on the latest broadcast of the Talk of Fame Network.
"Very early on," he said, "when I walked through the doors with the Cowboys, (former team executive) Tex Schramm, who used this statement to me, said to me, 'This sport cannot be a studio game. You have to have the pageantry of the crowd. You have to have the social experience of the crowd. That’s what helps make this game exciting.'
"And, consequently, (with us) really doing a good job with television and doing a good job with the mediums that are out there today (it) really creates competition for a stadium in a way. So you have to make those 10 games … you have to make them almost small Super Bowls … to create an excitement of my city against your city. You’ve played twice a year … maybe once a year … and all of that has got to happen in the aura of the real experience to make it come across on television, if you will."
So, then, keeping and improving the stadium experience is …
"It's critical," said Jones. "We can't be a studio game. You couldn’t get this story told and have this game if you just have a few thousand people watching it live."
That’s fine, except there is a concern the league is pricing the average Joe out of the game; that the cost of in-stadium experiences is so prohibitive that it will drive away fans who used to frequent NFL games on Sundays.
"I don’t think so," said Jones. "Bob Costas (of NBC Sports) asked me, 'What do you think about the price of the ticket?' on one of his shows. (He said), 'What do you think about the price of the ticket? What do you think about the price of a Coke or the price of a beer?'
"And I said, 'Bob, it's like anything else. Thirty years ago you could get a man like you for about $50,000 a year. You want to tell the audience how much you're making?' "