The Patriots have no worries in the near term; the team has sold out every game since 1994 and has almost 60,000 people willing to plunk down $100 each just to be on the waiting list for season tickets. But at an average per-person $112 ticket cost per game plus parking and food, Kraft said the Pats can't afford to be complacent. The question for all sports franchises, he said, is whether people will continue to make the trek to the park as television picture quality and interoperability via smart features improve.
Broadcasters have good reason to try and keep sports fans at home: The Patriots sold the TV rights to their next 256 games for what works out to $6 billion per year, said Kraft. And at CES, Sharp showed off an 80-inch, 8K ultra-high-definition set with 7,680 x 4,320 resolution -- that's about 16 times what current HDTVs offer. Sure, these sets will take a few years to go mainstream, but once you have one of those babies on your wall, are you going to pay upwards of $200, once all's said and done, to go sit in the freezing cold of a Massachusetts winter and munch on stadium food? And that goes double for franchises that aren't as successful as the Pats.
Kraft's not waiting to find out. The answer: Pervasive wireless in the stadium, exclusive content and apps, baby.