Much has been made of the Eagles only having one open practice this summer, especially because they would be charging $10 admittance for that sole open practice with proceeds going to autism research — not to mention the Ticketmaster service charges.
Eagles president Don Smolenski went on to 94WIP Tuesday morning and tried explaining the team’s decision.
“When we moved training from Lehigh to the NovaCare Complex, there’s a lot of thing you try to balance,” Smoleski notes.
He went on to point out that they have to manage their “neighbors” and that per their lease, they aren’t actually allowed to have training camp at the NovaCare Complex, but thanks to their great relationship with their local neighbors, have made it work. But, part of that compromise is how many people they can have attend.
Smolenski talked about attendance decreasing each year, which also resulted in them going from five open practices, to the one this year. He noted that last year 120,000 tickets were reserved, and of those only 10,000 were reserved for both days and only 2,500 actually came to both, 3,500 came to none and 5,000 came to one. (Alexis note: that doesn’t add up.)
He also talked about how they have other events, like the Rolling Stones concert, which will tear up the playing surface at Lincoln Financial Field and require re-sodding which alters their practice schedule a bit.
Smolenski said the stadium can accommodate 70,000 fans and are already over 23,000 tickets sold. He also mentioned that the $10 ticket fee not only goes to support the Eagles’ efforts toward autism research, but also gives fans a more vested interest in attending once they reserve those tickets.
He did say that the team would consider expanding practices again in the future if fan demand shows it’s worth it.
Some of the points brought up by Smolenski are valid, but the dip in attendance just doesn’t make much sense. With the Super Bowl win and all the excitement around Doug Pederson, Carson Wentz and an improving roster, those numbers seemed to be going up. The following attendance totals were announced by the Eagles over the past three years:
Eagles open training camp practice attendance totals (two practices combined):— Brandon Lee Gowton (@BrandonGowton) August 11, 2018
Plus, the $10 individual ticket price might seem small — and help the team plan for actual attendance numbers —, but for a family of four, that’s $40 plus Ticketmaster fees (up to $4 per ticket), making the outing over $50. That’s not peanuts. That’s the difference between many fans never getting to see the team they love and support year round.
The Raiders (zero) are the only team in the NFL with fewer open practices than the Eagles. All 30 other teams are holding at least five and some as much as 20.