What people were talking about last week: Referees, Part 2

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Last week I took a look at how the NFL® referee kerfuffle affected ticket sales at TN.com up to that point in the season. I found the data a little inconclusive, as the sales trend from this season closely matched that of last season up until last week, suggesting that the controversial call made the Monday before last affected sales in a negative way. However, I hypothesized that the trend might just be a season difference.

So what does the data tell us now that the real referees are back and previous disappointments have had a week to turn to delight? Well, as you can see below, there was a definite improvement for a while. The day after the refs returned, orders at TN.com spiked again, and generally did so for a few days afterward. So it can be argued that the return of the refs improved things a bit from last week.

TN.com NFL sales for 11 days on and following the Monday Night Football controversy. Data is normalized.
NFL® tickets sold at TN.com for 11 days on and after the MNF controversy, and for a similar period in 2011. Data is normalized.

What people are talking about this week: Referees

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last few weeks, you know that the NFL® has been embroiled in criticism over its hiring of temporary referees to officiate at games, due to a lockout of the regular refs due to contract negotiations. The situation came to a tipping point on Monday night when a controversial call handed the Seahawks/Packers game to the Seahawks. Two days later, the regular refs were back, and so the controversy has ended. Of course, as some have noted, there will inevitably still be arguments over calls. That's just how things roll, I guess.

At TN.com, we have been wondering how this referee kerfuffle has affected ticket sales. Did the call make fans who otherwise would be clamoring for tickets leery of buying, lest they have their time at the stadium marred by bad calls? Or did it have no effect?

Sales for the first 23 days of the 2012 and 2011 NFL seasons. Normalized.
NFL® tickets sold at TN.com for the first 23 days of the season. Data is normalized.