NFL, Fans Take Players' Concussions Seriously
STEVE INSKEEP, Host:
Let's talk more about this now with NPR's Mike Pesca, who's on the line from New York. Good morning, Mike.
MIKE PESCA: Hi.
INSKEEP: What specifically is pro football doing about this problem?
PESCA: The NFL is entertainment, and no one wants to be horrifying your paid audience with a horrible head injury.
INSKEEP: Yeah, I mean, this has got to be an entirely different way to think about the violence in football. I mean, in the past, you would think if John Madden being so enthusiastic - pow, boom - and you'd think about people playing hurt and how heroic that was. This is a different concern, a different attitude here.
PESCA: And fans overall, they seem to be concerned. No one wants to see Hall of Fame players who are wobbling out on crutches or, in some cases, hear some stories about those who have died from head injuries. But TV ratings are through the roof with the NFL. So, overall, this issue is not having an impact on the ratings, which are growing and growing every year as the rest of broadcast TV is shrinking.
INSKEEP: Ratings are up by attendance at NFL games is down.
PESCA: But I think the big problem is cost. It now costs over $400 to take a family of four to an NFL game, and that's not counting these seat licenses.
INSKEEP: Seat licenses?
PESCA: Yeah. This is a way for, you pay 10,000 to 100,000 dollars and you get the permanent rights to your seat. It's sold as an investment, 'cause in the past, some seat licenses have appreciated. Who knows what's going to happen currently. The bad thing is it's soaking your fans so much to have to pay sometimes six figures to go to an NFL game.
INSKEEP: Paying that much to bring the family to the stadium to watch somebody get a concussion.
PESCA: Yeah. To buy hot dogs too, while you're there.
INSKEEP: Mike, thanks very much.
PESCA: You're welcome.
INSKEEP: NPR's Mike Pesca.
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