January 29, 2023

The NFL is considering moving conference championship games to neutral sites

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For years, Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt has pushed the NFL to move conference championship games to a neutral site. Each time Hunt submitted the motion to the monarchy, the monarchy voted against it.

Now, with Hunt’s Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills one win away from the first-ever neutral conference title game, Hunt’s vision may be moving toward becoming a reality.

Premature public announcement of Bills and Chiefs fans He bought 50,000 tickets within 24 hours become circumstantial evidence The league is considering making all conference championship games at a neutral site. Notably, we’ve tracked down some direct evidence of the NFL’s intentions.

Within the league office, the interest in games of neutral site titles is very real. The NFL envies the atmosphere of major college games, where the 50/50 mix of fans is decked out in team colors. It’s one thing about college football that isn’t fully replicated with professional football.

The Super Bowl, which has been played at a neutral site since its inception (the last two Super Bowl games have been played coincidentally in one team’s home stadium), lacks the same feel as a major college game. The audience itself at the Super Bowl is often very neutral. Many who attend the Super Bowl do so for the experience, and because they can afford it. Also, for fans of qualified teams, it’s two weeks too late before the game starts to score tickets – other than the limited amount available for each franchise.

For the conference championship game at a neutral site, tickets are supposed to be handled the same way they were distributed for this year’s potential test run: half to season ticket holders of one team, half to season ticket holders of the other.

It is one thing for some within the league’s power structure to want conference championship games at a neutral site. It’s another matter for at least 24 owners to vote for it. But even if the Bills and Chiefs don’t make it to the next round this year, the league’s decision to promote ticket sales becomes the NFL’s basis for selling sale potential to owners and fans (many of whom aren’t interested in that). conference championship game in a neutral location) as an innovator, pioneer and next step in the development of the game, by moving two of its most important events to different cities and stadiums, every year.

It doesn’t hurt that cities will race (and pay) for the privilege of hosting conference championship games.

Yes, it robs the higher seed of the ability to host the game, which is one of the real advantages of earning a higher spot on the playoff tree. It also affects some of the profits generated by the local team. But not as much as a regular home game.

While we understand that the team hosting the conference tournament currently gets its expenses (not to exceed 15 percent of total ticket revenue), the rest of the money goes to the league for distribution to all teams. The only real profit for hosting such games comes from parking, concessions, and some extra hospitality.

Fans wouldn’t like it, in theory. If it happens this year, fans will watch it — and the league will relentlessly promote it. Even if it wasn’t enough to sway public opinion, public opinion didn’t stop the League from making other innovations.

Fans did not like exporting regular season home games to Europe. And it’s been happening and growing for 15 years.

What are we going to do other than watch the conference championship games? The league knows we can never get enough of the NFL, and our appetites won’t be diminished even in the slightest if/when conference tournaments are played at a neutral site.