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The HOF Village is falling flat

Mike Florio opens the mailbag to answer questions ranging from the possibility of an NFL team internationally, what would happen if the NFL draft didn't happen and comparisons of the Packers and the 2019 Patriots,

For several years now, the Pro Football Hall of Fame has tried to expand into the supposed Disney World of Football. It continues to literally be a very small world, however, in Canton.

It’s just not working, and summarizes the current struggles of the Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company, which went public through a SPAC last year, to raise funds and make money.

Case in point: The Hall of Fame Village recently decided to cash in on the NFT craze. To do so, it partnered with the P.R. firm that handled the Fyre Festival. And of 101 available non-fungible tokens, only one of them -- one! -- sold. Only 10 of the NFTs received bids.

The next idea is an indoor waterpark, and the Hall of Fame Village projects the waterpark to generate $37 million in revenue by 2026. The article at crunches the numbers and concludes that "[t]here is simply not enough visitor traffic to the Canton, Ohio area or the PFHOF to allow for an indoor waterpark to generate $37 million in revenue by 2026.” The article looks at recent deplanement numbers and concludes that “HOFV would have to capture every single person that flew into the Akron-Canton Airport from January 2017 to December 2019, get them to get off the plane and then go to an indoor waterpark, and do all of that in one year.”

Thus, without a “massive change in visitor traffic,” writes that the waterpark project seems “doomed.”

The end result for anyone who has purchased shares in the Hall of Fame Village: “We believe shares could wind up worthless, crushed by dilution, minimal revenue generation, and massive losses.”

Frankly, it’s amazing that the NFL has allowed it to get this far. The league rarely associates itself with failure. The Hall of Fame Village seems to be on track to becoming one, if it isn’t there already.

And it’s definitely making the NFL look bad. Consider this glowing quote from Commissioner Roger Goodell in Hall of Fame president David Baker’s bio: “Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village is going to be one of the most spectacular things that I’ve ever seen, and that is not an overstatement. It’s really extraordinary that David came in with a vision of creating this village and it’s actually becoming a reality.”

The article at paints a starkly different picture. So stark that Baker, best known by far for knocking on doors of new Hall of Famers, could soon no longer be the one who knocks.