Lions' season ticket sales up, but season now in jeopardy
After a strong finish to the 2010 season, Detroit Lions season ticket deposits -- both renewals and new season tickets -- are up from this point last year.
Too bad the 2011 season is in jeopardy after the NFL owners locked out the players after negotiations broke down on Friday and the NFLPA filed decertification papers.
Season ticket holders were to receive notice from the Lions on Saturday about the lockout situation.
“I think it’s important to maintain great communication with them. The bottom line is they want us to play ffotball. they’re not interested in which side has what,’’ Lions president Tom Lewand said on Saturday “... They’re interested in watching Lions football. We understand that, we get it, that’s what we’re focused on as well. We want to play football we want to build on the last four games last year.’’
It’s all in the courts for now.
However, it’s not like everything has gone dark at the Lions offices and practice facility.
Lewand said the team is focused on preparing for the 2011 season. In fact, he must have said it about a dozen times during a conference call with beat writers on Saturday morning because he can’t say much else.
The next step is up to a federal judge who will decide if the lockout is legal and will stand. If he rules against the lockout, free agency could open and the doors to the practice facility would be open for the players’ offseason workouts.
If the lockout stands, everything except the draft will be on hold until an agreement is reached.
Lewand said the team is prepared for every contingency when it comes to free agency. It was set to start March 4, but only if a new collective bargaining agreement had been reached.
The NFL draft, April 28-30, will go on and the preparation continues for that.
Another big question looms for the Lions and the other NFL teams. When the players return, how will team unity be affected.
For success, players must respect the coaching staff and management. That goes
“We have a lot of respect for our players, I personally have a lot of respect for the guys in our locker room what they’ve done tio help build our program over the last couple of years. that level of respect isn’t going to change one bit,’’ Lewand said.
“I know those guys want to play football and I have both personal and professional relationships with a lot of those guys in the locker room. But more importantly organizationally we have a lot of respect for them and they are obviously critical to what we are trying to accomplish as an organization and football team,’’ he added.
While other NFL teams had announced possible furloughs and layoffs prior to the lockout, that is not in the immediate future for the Lions.
“Nothing immediately. We aren’t going to get into specifics about what the plans are, but at least in the near term as we prepare for the draft as we get ready we are not making any modificiations there’ll be no changes in staffing as a result of the lockout, there’ll be no changes in salaries as the result of the lockout right now,’’ Lewand said.
And then again he mentioned they are focused on getting ready for the 2011 season.
(Paula Pasche covers the Lions. Follow her on Twitter @PaulaPasche. Read her Lions Lowdown blog at oplions.blogspot.com.)