PACKERS = NEWS
NFL FOOTBALL IS NOT "JUST A GAME"
It's not just a game. Not by a long shot. Whether you're talking economic impact, or simply emotional attachment, the Green Bay Packers are much more than just football.
It's in part why we at Today's TMJ4 pride ourselves in our ability to cover our beloved Green and Gold. It's why I make no apologies for calling Packer news... news. It is.
This is prompted by an angry emailer sarcastic critique of our Brett Favre coverage yesterday. Here's an email I received from Dan in Mequon:
"Hey, does anyone remember the packers play "games", tmj4 put so much time and effort in to covering the breaking story behind brett it just shows the mentality of the average wisconsinite. Hey, what do you suppose the governor did today that actualy could change the lives of those of us who live and pay taxes in wi. Does brett pay income tax to the state of wi. just wondering. dont you think a news program could choose better what to spend special broadcast time on. REMEMBER THE PACKERS JUST PLAY A GAME, unless you have a financial interest some how, jobs, income or the trickle down rember brett is just another person and he still plays games even though he's as old as he is."
Look, I'm not saying we ought to confuse life and death issues with the various comings and goings of Brett Favre. I'm not saying at times, the soap opera that is Favre's dealings with the Packers and vice versa seems quite trivial. I understand Dan's point is, let's not confuse the War in Iraq with whether Brett Favre is going to throw footballs or not. Point taken, and I agree.
Still, that doesn't mean what's happening with the Packers isn't newsworthy.
Let me address a few points Dan made, specifically.
"...what do you suppose the governor did today..."
More people watched the Packers play Monday Night Football against the Seahawks last year than voted in the election that sent Jim Doyle back for another term. Seriously. One of the highest rated quarter hours of the year for the Packers came in that game where they registered 417,659 households for the Milwaukee viewing area. In this market, a household roughly translates to 2 actual people, making the total more than 835,000 watching the Pack. In the same Geographic area, 627,310 people voted in the Gubernatorial Election for 2006. Sorry Governor.
"Does brett pay income tax to the state of wi..."
Yes. A lot. You pay income tax in the state in which you earn your check. I'm not certain if Favre still owns a home in the Green Bay area, but I know he did. That means he paid a hefty share of property tax as well, not to mention sales tax on all the stuff he buys here.
"REMEMBER THE PACKERS JUST PLAY A GAME..."
Hardly. Forbes Magazine puts the Packers worth near 1 Billion dollars in 2005. The team has an economic impact on Brown County alone exceeding 100 million dollars annually. The sales tax alone generated by the Packer Pro Shop is near $300,000 annually. Some of it came from our purchase of this very outfit for our daughter, who also thinks the Packers are quite newsworthy.
The Green Bay Packers are a highly successful company in the state of Wisconsin. It's relevant and newsworthy to cover it as we do other important companies.
Once again, I understand sometimes it looks like the Packer coverage is a little much. Sometimes even for me it is, and I'm a big fan. But there's no question the Packers are more than "just a game," and the success of the team has a lot to do with the success of many other businesses in this State. Not only that, but don't we all feel better when the team's winning?
My final point addressing Dan's email is this... our Favre coverage was an element in widely diverse newscasts yesterday. When we covered his comments following the furor in our 11:00 AM Newscast, we covered it for several minutes in an hour-long news presentation. It was one of many newsworthy events we shared with our viewers.