The job of a new sports owner isn't always about the big things. Robert Palmer, who bought the NASL's Jacksonville Armada five weeks ago, has already increased peak TV viewers by almost 40
times, but he also tackled small details, down to adding table clothes at concessions and port-a-potties for tailgaters.
In an update to Armada fans, Palmer detailed just how poor the
team has been doing:
-- Just 780 fans on hand for a recent match against Puerto Rico FC; and -- As few as 700 peak viewers on local broadcasts.
No more padded attendance
figures. Palmer said the largest actual crowd in 2017 was 2,201 fans, and he promised to offer fans and sponsors a more transparent picture.
“I want to give a more
accurate, picture to fans, to sponsors oft how much engagement we really have,” Palmer said. “The idea for me that we could print out 1,000 tickets, and those 1,000 tickets were free
but they could land in a desk drawer somewhere or land in a trash can somewhere, and then report that as attendance -- just didn’t sit well."
Pumping money into broadcasts. Palmer said his first task was to boost television viewership, which he did by replacing digital broadcasts with telecasts on two of the top
stations in Jacksonville and doubling the number of cameras in place at matches.
For its Aug. 16 match against Puerto Rico FC, he said that resulted in an increase from as low as 700 peak
viewers to more than 26,000 and an average rating of 2.1, which he said was better than most ratings for NBA, NHL, PGA and NASCAR broadcasts in Jacksonville.
Next challenge: in-stadium fan experience: Drawing fans remains the challenge for the third-year NASL club, which the league operated for the first part of 2017
after founding owner Mark Frisch departed at the end of last year as it sought to stay afloat.
The actual attendance for the Puerto Rico game was just 780 fans, the lowest
announced attendance in the NASL in 2017. The crowd for the next game against Miami FC on Monday was just 1,176.
Palmer, who operates a mortgage lending company, said his next goal was to
improve the in-game fan experience.
"I am very confident we will see significant gains in attendances," he said, "and then we will have entire offseason season to focus on next year's