The overall cost for Bears’ season tickets won’t rise in 2016, which sounds like a real victory for fans until you remember that the team went 6-10 last season. Based on that record, shouldn’t prices be slashed?
Yes, I do understand how American professional sports work: Fans pay no matter if the team they support is great or if it is an insult to the sport it purports to play. Ticket prices go up regardless of the previous season’s record. If fans don’t pony up over a series of seasons, there is always the threat of the franchise relocating to a city offering a new stadium and tax breaks that look a lot like bribes.
But wouldn’t it be great if ticket prices were tied to performance? In my league — a fantasy league if there ever was one — a team that had a record above .500 would be able to raise ticket prices for the following season, but a team that finished below .500 would have to cut its ticket prices. Teams that finished with a .500 record would offer the same prices as the year before.
The idea is a twist on the English Premier League, which relegates the three teams with the worst records to a weaker league for the next season. You have to prove through results that you’re worthy of being in the top league. To be relegated means losing status and money.
That’s not how it works in American sports, especially the NFL, where there isn’t much of a penalty for being a bad team. Thanks to revenue sharing, there isn’t an overwhelming incentive to be a good team.
The Bears are raising their regular-season ticket prices by 10 percent for season-ticket holders and dropping their preseason ticket prices by 40 percent. Taken together, it means they are standing pat on season-ticket prices for 2016.
Don’t you feel blessed?