The Baltimore Ravens’ decision to lower concession prices was a noble one – there’s no doubt about it. The franchise recognized the complaints of its fans, knew it had to cater to them, and did so. They deserve credit for that, and so far, it seems like they’re getting it.
But, the primary goal – in reality – was not to make the fans happy. Rather, it was to put fans in seats. The Ravens had a shockingly low attendance at its games in the 2017 season, and the number of fans has been declining over the course of the last five seasons. Despite the monstrous cut in costs, however, I am reluctant to believe that the gesture will prove all that consequential.
The fact of the matter is that Ravens fans had numerous concerns and complaints that led to the drop in attendance to their games. Obviously, the elephant in the room is the players’ decision to kneel, but other issues such as cold weather and the choice between HD television and overpriced tickets to a subpar experience were instrumental to the poor showings. Each of these factors remains prevalent, and for that reason, it is unlikely that lower concession prices will offset them. Decreased prices will be meaningful to regular attendees and season ticket-holders, but they will not drastically affect weekly fan attendance. The most important product to the fans is the one on the field, and therefore, the savviest business decision that the Ravens have made this offseason is 2018 draft selection, Lamar Jackson.
No matter where you stand on Joe Flacco (fan of the Super Bowl winner, or not), it is impossible to deny that Lamar Jackson can simply do more for the Ravens offense. He is far more exciting and therefore will immediately provide the spark the franchise needed. We have heard so much about how the team needed to play a “more exciting brand of football,” and more than anything else, that reality applied to the business that is the Baltimore Ravens. In a way that Flacco can’t, Jackson creates plays out of virtually nothing, and the potential of that alone will energize the fanbase, surely attracting the numbers the Ravens have been missing in recent years.
While reduced concession prices will benefit the fans whose support has been unwavering, the thoughtful gesture will have a limited impact on overall attendance. To solve that problem, the team needs to excite Baltimore – a feat they were unable to do last season. This year, though, things are different. With the arrival of QB Lamar Jackson, the Ravens have a new product to market on the field, and I believe it will work wonders for filling seats.