Notes: Dan Campbell talks free agency, Rod Wood comments on ticket prices

Detroit Lions Off-Season Workout
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images

Recapping events from the NFL Annual Meeting, Campbell recapped free agency, while Rod Wood talked ticket prices.

This week on the Twentyman in the Huddle podcast, Tim Twentyman had extended interviews with head coach Dan Campbell and Lions team president Rod Wood at the owners’ meetings last week. The first 14 minutes are with coach Campbell and the last 10 minutes feature team president Wood. You can watch the entire 24-minute video on the team’s official YouTube channel:

While many of the things talked about in the video are familiar themes from other coverage of media sessions in Orlando, the interviews serve as a really good summary of personnel and operations decisions by the Lions over the past few weeks. In the front section with Dan Campbell, the discussion leads off with quite a bit about the defensive additions of DJ Reader, Marcus Davenport, Carlton Davis, and Amik Robertson in free agency and how they fit into what the Lions were looking for. Then, echoing comments he’s made elsewhere, the head coach said he and general manager Brad Holmes “did not want to feel like we slipped at the O-Line. . . because the O-Line’s critical for us. In some sense it’s an engine that we run off of,” so it was important to bring in a proven veteran guard like Kevin Zeitler.

Other things talked about were the importance of continuity in the coaching staff and bringing in familiar faces like Terrell Williams (who Campbell coached with in Miami) and the level of comfort with the roster heading into the draft:

“Really, once we got Zeitler done, that checked the last box for the most part as to ‘okay, we feel pretty good like we’ve got these areas covered.’ We feel like now ‘you’re ready to go to the draft.’ So yeah, we feel like we’re set up nice. This gives us a chance to go find the best player available that we know is going to help us and it fits us. So yeah, we’re sitting pretty good.”

The back half with president Rod Wood gets into some of the experience of the lengthened season (“with the long run, the season went a lot longer than we’re accustomed to. But, I’d like to do that every year; even go a couple weeks longer.”), the extensions for the leadership team of Brad Holmes and Dan Campbell, and also some teaser comments about the new uniforms being revealed in April.

Wood also answered a question about the ticket price increase that was announced at the end of 2023 and shared some interesting demand-side numbers. “I know it felt painful because we hadn’t raised them (in a while), so catching up is a big jump. But even with this (increase), I think we’re still just below league average. I think we’re still the cheapest tickets in our division. So I know it hurts, but people still renewed. We’re at a 96 percent renewal rate. We still have almost 20,000 people on the waitlist.”

While we knew from prior reporting that there was a wait list, it’s wild that it’s now close to a third of the official capacity of Ford Field. According to the Detroit Free Press, the wait list was roughly 6,300 back in November 2023. A month later in mid-December, the team told WXYZ that the wait list had grown to 9,000.

The team president also had warm words for the job chief operating officer Mike Disner and his group have done preserving flexibility for the roster and making it possible for the team to retain its veteran players. A question from Twentyman about marketing internationally brought up some cool angles. According to Wood, by choosing to market to the entire country of Canada the Lions had to give up the right to protect Windsor as part of its home market. “So, Windsor. . . now other teams could market in theoretically, but i’ll take my chances that we can win that battle.”

Another huge international market being targeted by the Lions is Germany, where “St. Brown is one of the most popular if not the most popular football player in Germany. So doing things together with him seemed like a natural (fit).”

Even if you’re a hard core Pride of Detroit reader that already knows everything covered in the interviews, it’s still nice to see Dan Campbell and Rod Wood in a relaxed setting talking Lions football. Check it out on the team’s official YouTube page. Now, on to the rest of your Weekend Notes:

  • MLive’s Ben Raven and Kyle Meinke posted a new episode of their podcast Dungeon of Doom covering the Owners’ meetings week. You can listen to the entire 39-minute audio in a web player on Spotify.

  • I went to San Diego for a Disney Cruise this past week, which apparently was only the second coolest thing going on there:

  • In case you missed it, we here on the Pride of Detroit staff feel obligated to make it known that fearless leader Jeremy Reisman made good on one of his Movember pledge rewards (it is the level 2 stretch goal):

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Title: Notes: Dan Campbell talks free agency, Rod Wood comments on ticket prices
Author: Andrew Kato

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