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Houston Texans president Jamey Rootes took time Thursday to chat with Express-News staff writer Tom Orsborn before participating in a panel discussion at the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing's TexTAM 2009. Here are the highlights from that interview:

With the economy crumbling, was it wise to raise ticket prices?

We took a slight price increase (a 3.7 percent hike in the average ticket price), but the process we went through in doing it was very thoughtful. People look at a price increase and assume you did it across the board. We didn't. We looked section by section at the demand for those seats as demonstrated by the value they generate in the secondary ticket market. We were charging "X" in certain sections, and people were spending two and three and four times that amount in the secondary ticket market. Clearly there's a huge demand for those seats and they're sold out perpetually, so we thought we could go ahead and charge a slightly higher price. There are other places we really felt strongly that this is where the folks facing the most pressure from these challenging economic times sit. So there were thousands and thousands of seats we held flat.

San Antonio has long been a Dallas Cowboys' hotbed. Have the Texans given up on penetrating this market?

We certainly have not. No question, it's been challenging. In our market, we've sold out every game we've played. But outside of Houston, fans judge you on what they're seeing and hearing in the national media. Unfortunately, we haven't burned our way onto national TV yet. When we do, we believe it'll be a much more conducive environment to build a large and sustainable base of regional support. If we win, you're going to see the light switch very quickly go (on).

Are the Texans on board with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's plan to expand the regular season from 16 games to 17 or 18?

You can see the value for the fans and the league to carefully evaluate it because the regular season is so incredibly compelling. I applaud initiative and innovation. That's what makes this country great. Nothing stays the same forever, and the league has to always be thinking of what our fans want and how we can deliver. If making a change like this creates value for our fans, let's look carefully at making it happen.

Will the league ever reach a deal with Time Warner Cable to air the NFL Network?

The NFL's committed to the NFL Network. It's a very important strategic asset. There are challenges, but you don't hear anybody backing down from figuring out a way to expand its distribution. That takes some time, some creativity and some hard work, but we absolutely know there's demand for it.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: March 27, 2009

Chukky Okobi Name: Chukky Okobi
Position: C
Age: 29
Experience: 8 years
College: Purdue
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