Goodell: Lockout 'clearly has had impact on fans'

The NFL lockout, now in its 11th week, hasn’t been without consequences.

Commissioner Roger Goodell acknowledged as much earlier today when he met with media after the spring NFL meetings came to a conclusion in Indianapolis.

Goodell indicated ticket sales have been impacted and when you talk about that, you’re talking about a bottom line for the 32 owners in the NFL.

Clearly it has had an impact on the fans," Goodell said, according to the Associated Press. “We see it in various metrics. There's been a noticeable change, TV ratings were down on the draft roughly 4 million people. traffic (is down), we see that.

“Fans want certainty. We can't underestimate that the fans are going through challenges just in the general economy.”

The longer the situation goes without a resolution, the greater the affect. Obviously, if the regular season doesn’t start on time – or if games are lost – there is going to be a dramatic impact. To that end, Goodell said a drop-dead date “obviously is coming” for the NFL to kick off the 2011 season Sept. 8 at Lambeau Field in Green Bay.

“We've made it clear that (revenue loss) is current and will continue to accelerate and impact on the ability of ownership to make an offer (the players) find attractive,” Goodell said.

Where it heads from here, no one knows. The next major step will be a hearing before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis on June 3. Thing is, a ruling from that hearing could take several weeks to come. In the meantime, damage will continue to be done.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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