Roger Goodell expressed a concern on "60 Minutes" last month.
"Our biggest challenge going forward," the NFL commissioner said, "is how to get people to come to our stadiums, because the (TV) experience is so great at home."
Well, sir, not to worry. The Bears have the solution:
RAISE TICKET PRICES!!!
The NFL should try the strategy in Jacksonville, Tampa Bay or some of the league's other last outposts.
If the Jaguars, Buccaneers or some others raise ticket prices, their stadiums just might go from half empty to half full.
It sure works here. The Bears keep increasing the cost of attending a game and every inch of space in Soldier Field remains sold.
That doesn't mean all seats are occupied. It just means they're sold, which is why the Bears could announce Tuesday that they will again RAISE TICKET PRICES!!!
Pro sports is a supply-and-demand business, so normally I don't address the disease of teams gouging consumers.
But this particular instance qualifies as insane.
Actually it has to be viewed as a race between the Bears and Bears fans to determine who is more insane.
Are the Bears for demanding that customers pay more despite a precarious economy, last season's .500 finish and widespread public dissatisfaction over the way the franchise is run?
Or are Bears fans for blindly anteing up year after year and decade after decade, heading toward century after century?
To be fair, it should be noted that not everywhere did the Bears RAISE TICKET PRICES!!! The cost of club seats remains from between $265 and $530.
Apparently the McCaskeys recognized that they couldn't ask even high rollers to take out more than two or three mortgages to pay to see Lovie Smith squander timeouts.
According to the Bears' release, "Non-club ticket increases range from $2 to $10. The Bears' non-club ticket prices now range from $76 to $150 and account for approximately 85 percent of seating at Soldier Field."
About 20 years ago I read that only people over 30 years of age are outraged over ticket prices and player salaries.
It's a thrill to learn that I'm not over 30, because I'm not outraged over the Bears' ticket hike.
Flabbergasted would be a better characterization.
Seriously, my guess is that these are difficult times for the so-called cheap-seat folks affected by the Bears' decision to RAISE TICKET PRICES!!!
A good question, even for the ones who share season tickets with friends, is why most don't give up their tickets, stay home and watch on big-screen TVs.
Here's a guess: They're like addicts who keep buying drugs on street corners.
They can't help themselves. They know they should stop. They promise they'll stop. But they can't stop.
So the Bears can continue to RAISE TICKET PRICES!!! And Bears fans will continue to pay more nearly every season.
The best I can determine from Googling is that the Bears' annual operating profit must be up around $50 million by now.
That figure -- give or take a few million -- is remarkable considering what the Bears had to pay Roy Williams to drop passes, Caleb Hanie to throw interceptions and Marion Barber to play dumb.
Just imagine how much higher the Bears would have had to ask fans to pay if they won 10 games instead of eight and made the playoffs instead of missed them.
Mr. Commissioner, the Bears have the cure for everything that ails sports.
RAISE TICKET PRICES!!!