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There are, on rare occassions, a mixture of politics and football.  Arlen Specter and the New England Patriots come to mind immediately.  Yet while America turns it’s political attentions to this falls Presidential race and the skyrocketing prices of crude oil, our lives are supposed to go on as normal.  Yet normal these days are redefined…if not “refined“.

Take a trip around the NFL fan forums boards and you will see that Direct TV customers have received their renewal notice for the upcoming season and while the NFL Sunday Ticket is priced at about 250 bucks, the real pinch is coming in the form of season ticket sales at the stadiums themselves.

Gas prices at the pump are affecting football too.  Go to the grocery store and I am sure you noticed that prices have risen over the last year, pick up a box of Kellogs cereal and the box seems smaller, it is.  Movie prices are up to 10 dollars in almost every part of the country and even matinee prices are up to 6 before 5.  Now, explain to your significant other the reason you want to buy that Sunday Ticket or the annual season tickets to your favorite team.  Your work is cut out for you this year.  Hell you may not even bother to ask, knowing in your own mind that some things just have to give.

20 to 25 dollars to park at a stadium these days is nothing compared to the tank of gas that will cost you almost 100 dollars…probably more for the tailgating super fans and their large vehicles.  Why one full tank?  The hour sitting in traffic to get into the stadium, the hour it takes you to get out, and then of course the drive home.   One day could easily cost you in excess of 600 dollars when it is all said and done.  Imagine doing that every Sunday.

So far it appears that none of our trusted politicians, is that a “double negative?”,  have an idea on how to curtail the rising economic costs.  John McCain has one agenda while Barrack Obama has another.  Yet both seem to reside clearly on a party line rather than an American line.  In a nutshell, neither party has any balls.  Instead of forcing our automotive industry into better built non-petrol relying vehicles they banter back and forth.  Neither “party” is willing to lose the “Motown 3″ support, who all seem to own stock in oil companies.  Instead they would rather lose our trust.  President Bush asks for off-shore drilling rights, yes it won’t help us now, but 3 or 4 years ago it would have…today, but that is off limits, let us allow the Arab nations screw up the desert and we can pay them for it.  The oil cartels get richer, our politicians dance, and your not paying for sports packages.

I realize that in the overall scheme of our society sports packages and entertainment are a far cry from feeding your family or having the opportunity to save money or get out of debt.  Yet whether we want to admit it or not, we still find ourselves shelling out money to make us happy.  Spend 250 on Sunday Ticket and your not leaving the house on Sundays.  Which means your personal gasoline consumption is down…unless your wife is like mine and heads to the malls to go shopping.  Look at your monthly bills and for many the first thought is how will we string together the month, what will cut out of our expenses?  Wow, 250 dollars for football games?

Miami Dolphins owner Wayne Huizenga may be the smartest one of all in terms of NFL owners go.  With rookie salaries out of this world and likely to climb more, with veteran wages ballooning toward Major League Baseball salaries on the high end, he is heading for the exit.  By selling off 50 percent of his interest in both the team and the stadium to Stephen Ross, Huizenga may be getting out while the getting out is still possible.

Early this week, Huizenga made remarks about the state of season ticket renewals.

“A lot of people are on the fence of whether they want to renew their season tickets or not,” Huizenga said Monday. “Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a huge number. But you’re going to see a difference.”

Not a lot?  Maybe not in an overall grand scheme of things, but while many fans in the Miami Dolphins base will renew, many will not.  On the surface, fans who have been on the fence due to poor product on the field, will now use the economy as their crutch to get out of the high-end expense they have endured for years.

With the recent floods in the mid-west damaging and in some cases destroying corn crops and other agricultural products, the rise of our personal expenses are going up more.  Yet we expect their to be natural instances of crop destruction and other problems in our society that affect renewable resources, it’s part of living on this blue planet.

So while our politicians fail to support anyone’s plan on how to fix the problem, or actually develop a plan of any kind, “gasoline tax day”, give me a freaking break,  you and I both will have  tell our children that we can’t afford that new bike, that extra toy, perhaps in some cases that private school.  We tell our wives that dinner out is out of the question, and forget about delivered pizza, those poor kids have to fill their own tanks.  We do this while all the while knowing that for us “fans” the choice of whether to keep those season tickets or Sunday NFL Ticket is sitting on our minds.  It is not a matter of will we or won’t we.  Want vs. need.  It is now a matter of can we afford or can’t we.

While I enter my 11th season of direct TV NFL Sunday Ticket, I must fight that very demon.  While my wife scoffs at the price tag and the 41 dollars a month, added on to the current 100 bucks a month bill, for the next 6 months, I will have to make the decision of worth vs. affordability.  While I will likely purchase the package again this year, it will likely only be because I write for this website.  I just need to figure out how to deduct it from taxes. 

So while Wayne Huizenga views the upcoming season as a better one than last year, how could it realistically be worse, he hopes that the gas prices and the OPEC controlled petroleum industry doesn’t sway too many fans from trying to pack the house.

“Obviously, we’re going to have a better year,” he said. “But you have some people who say, ‘I’m really excited, but I can’t afford it.”

Wayne, that is the question that almost every single sports fan is asking himself right now.  “Can I afford it”.

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Tags: 2008 Presidential Race Barrack Obama Democrats Direct TV Gas Prices George Bush John McCain Miami Dolphins NFL NFL Sunday Ticket Offshore Drilling Oil Cartels Oil Prices Opec Politics Republicans Stephen Ross Wayne Huizenga

  • Luke

    I did had both DirecTV and the Sunday Ticket since the lat 90s but had to give both up this season because of the higher cost of living.  I also gave up my cable internet and got DSL which saved me about 30 bucks right there.  All told I am saving 120 bucks a month.

  • http://phinphanatic.com Brian Miller

    If I didnt write for this site and didn’t do the radio shows, I would probably have to give it up this year as well.