NFL sees signs fans are turned off



INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Commissioner Roger Goodell says the NFL already is seeing the negative impact the lockout has had on the league.

Goodell cites the weaker TV ratings for April’s draft, with roughly 4 million fewer viewers than in 2010, and a drop in traffic on the league’s website, calling it “a noticeable change.” He says there also has been a financial impact, and that “fans want certainty. We can’t underestimate that the fans are going through challenges just in the general economy.”

The owners’ spring meetings have included lengthy discussions about the labor dispute with the players, but no deadlines have been set — yet — for the opening of training camps, which usually happens in late July. That drop-dead date “obviously is coming” barring a collective bargaining agreement.