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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


Will we see the Lions?

The Detroit Lions could remain the strongest draw in town, but their 0-16 campaign will test fans.

A poll of online readers at The Oakland Press showed nearly 3 out of 4 are more excited about the division-leading Tigers than the hapless Lions. You'd think that was natural, a team is in the hunt for a championship.

But that's higher than normal, because football has always gotten Detroiters riled up and the Lions have long been an area of intense interest, even in the off season, even when Wayne Fontes was coach, even when Matt Millen ran the team.

I know the Tigers are in first place, but they've been there for a while (at times the 3rd best team in the league). But they're not that exciting, really; they keep having these losing streaks to take away momentum. They're not selling out, forcing the Tigers to run numerous ticket specials.

So how will the Lions fare when it comes to putting bottoms in the seats? If a first-place pro team struggles, what could the worst-place team do?

Throw in the economy and (as fellow Lowdowner Jeff Kuehn pointed out) a possible 0-6 start, and the Lions could only have nine games on TV (the eight road ones and Thanksgiving). And what if Thanksgiving doesn't sell out?

We love our football, but could this cause long-term damage to the finances and stability of the team. Despite it's on-field performance, the team has been fairly consistent, selling out every Ford Field game until last year and maintaining a front office with a strong marketing team and good community involvement.

But could we get to the point of small crowds with tens of thousands of empty seats. If the Lions aren't on TV, it's easy to forget about them. And the Detroit papers have given up on delivering Monday's paper, pushing the Lions further away from fans.

As much as I've liked the Lions over the years, I've also hated some aspects of the NFL, especially it's damn-the-fans approach to television coverage. Blackouts are the worst thing they can do, because it takes away marketing the league and the sport. Not only do you not get to watch the Lions, but you don't get another game.

Perhaps the national economic downturn will lead to other cities have this problem and perhaps the blackout rules could be amended. I doubt it, but I know it will be a test to remain faithful to the team if things don't get better.

Of course, one thing would help — a win or two early on and some good play throughout the season.

Giving up three touchdowns early on every week will only ensure everyone gets their yards raked on Sundays.

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Blogger Bret said...

I don't feel sorry for the Lions one bit, and you shouldn't either. WCF put them into this mess and the chickens have finally come home to roost. How many other companies can produce subpar products over an extended period of time and expect to stay in business? How many HAVE (besides the Lions) stayed in business? I love my Lions, but I DO NOT feel sorry for them. Remember winning cures all ills. If/when they start winning and putting a better product on the field the fans will return. Gone are the days of "wait 'til next year". It serves them right.

4:11 PM 
Blogger natedawg94 said...

I don't think last year is going to affect attendance at all. Unbelievably, I think the town is excited and optimistic again - like they are every year. A lot of new players, new coaches, new uniforms, new season! We Lions fans are a glutton for punishment, so why would this year be any different?

5:48 PM 
Blogger Bret said...

Nate- You very well could be right. I can't speak for that side of the state. Here on the west side of MI there is a lot of discontent and aggrivation. I can tell you many fans I've spoken with are not willing to buy into the same old rhetoric that we've been fed for the last 8 years. That same "feel good" sensation was all the rage when Mooch came in and again when Marenelli showed up with "pound the rock". Don't get me wrong, I really want to see the Lions succeed, but until there are some w's in the win colomn I will not be a Lion Slappy. As the old saying goes "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." I don't believe the is a "Fool me a third time" option.

Contrary to popular belief, not all Lions fans live in Detroit. There are a number of us who have forked out some major cash over the past number of years only to be rewarded by failure. Well, some of us that no loanger are gainfully employed can no longer afford the cost of failure.

6:29 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bret I really think that you are Right about the fact that People just don't have the cash to spend.
I live in Detroit And it is hard to get Your lil check and then put a days pay toward a losing ticket.
With most jobs Only paying about 10 dollars an hour and no Benni's it is hard for a lot of people.
The Lions have put some good season ticket offers up for people to be able to afford them But,they don't realize that for most people that's not enough even then.
I mean When almost all the Car company Jobs are gone to other cities that Leaves a lot of people with Retail jobs and other low paying jobs.
Hey it allows you to live But as for fun stuff you have to make a choice.And with the way this TEAM has lost in the past I would like to do something else.
And also IN order to get a good price you have to commit to so many games and you don't allways get your choice of games,Because for the Pittsburgh and Green-bay games They know that they will sell to their Fans if we don't show up.So a lot of them get to choose those games over us.
But, then when it comes to the average JOE Who cant afford season tickets He gets penalized for being poor by having to pay top dollar for single seats Or even two or three seats by paying the $70 to $210 some dollars To go to a single game?
Or get an all you can EAT SEAT Which is about $83 or something like that for a lower bowl And I'm not sure how much for a Nose bleed or if there even is an all you can eat Nose bleed seat.
I know there are nose bleed seats for $30 or $40
then there is the Parking that is at least $20.
And it really sucks for you on the west side of the state With these GAS Prices!
AND so since not enough people can buy Tickets then the League cuts you off from watching it on TV.
DO you west siders of the State Get blacked out?
I am fan that will read every article that I can on the LIONS and watch every show thats about them and Look them up several times a week on the computer But still can't watch them on TV and cant GO TO the game.
The League will have to feel the school of hard knocks just like everyone else.
And so will the players,if they want a paycheck they might have to take a cut in pay!

12:27 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

West side?

It's only blacked out within a 75 mile radius of the stadium.

You can watch the game from the Lansing area when it's blacked out, or just go to the bar. The Sunday Ticket doesn't get blacked out.

NFL prices have gotten stupid. They have 10 home games a year (and guaranteed only 10 if you're the Lions and you're counting pre-season). They charge the same price for pre-season tickets as they do for season tickets. To me, it's the worst deal in entertainment, and that includes Jonas Brothers tickets (at least those make the kids happy when it's over... I leave a Lions game cussing.)

1:15 PM 

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