Blog Entry

The blackout problem is not going away

Posted on: September 7, 2010 4:34 pm
Edited on: September 7, 2010 4:37 pm
Posted by Andy Benoit

Q. What do you get when you combine a rough economy with an ever-improving home television viewing experience?

A. Blackouts. An alarming number of blackouts.

Sean Leahy of USA Today recently shed some light on the potential blackout problem NFL teams are facing in 2010. Last season, 22 regular season games (8.6 percent of games) were blacked out, which was a five-year high for the league. Five teams had home games blacked out: Detroit, Jacksonville, Kansas City, St. Louis and Oakland.

This season, 11 teams, including ’09 playoff clubs San Diego, Cincinnati and Arizona, could be facing blackouts. Tampa Bay is expected to lead the league in ’10 blackouts; their first could come in the Season Opener against Cleveland. Leahy writes, “Last year the Buccaneers took advantage of blackout loophole by which teams can buy back unsold tickets at a reduced rate in order for the game to air locally. This season, (Bucs spokesman) Jonathan Grella said the team won't do that.

For games to be on TV, Grella said, "people need to understand that it's not a given."

It’s worth noting that the blackout problems are generally impacting only the less established teams. Classic organizations like Pittsburgh, Chicago, Dallas, Green Bay, San Francisco, Miami, Washington, etc. have either already sold out all eight games in 2010 or are on the cusp of selling out all eight games. And popular teams like Philadelphia, New England, Indianapolis, Minnesota and Baltimore are selling out, too.

That said, the blackout problem will get worse if changes aren’t eventually made. Think about it: going to a game costs hundreds of dollars. You’re stuck in traffic for hours beforehand and after. You usually wind up committing eight hours of your day to the experience. The game is exciting, except for the frequent commercial breaks where you sit around and look at nothing. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a good view of the field. And, if you’re even luckier, you won’t be sitting next to a noisy moron or drunkard.

On the other side of the equation…for roughly the cost of taking your family to an NFL game, you can order DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket and see every game for the entire season. You watch from home (likely on a big HD screen) and determine the nature of your own environment. You see more than you would have seen at the game live (better view, replays, close-up shots of players and coaches), and it only costs about three hours of your day. No driving home, no facing traffic and no standing in line at the restroom. Better yet, if you’re a hardcore NFL fan, you aren’t limited to watching just one game.
With the Collective Bargaining negotiations on the horizon and owners needin
g to figure out how to distribute revenue, the league needs to take special notice of the blackout markets. If blackouts become the norm for lower-echelon teams (especially lower-echelon teams in newer NFL markets like Tampa, Jacksonville, Charlotte, Phoenix, etc.), the NFL could start to develop its own versions of the Kansas City Royals or Pittsburgh Pirates.

A huge factor in the NFL’s success has been how even its bottom-feeder clubs are relevant. Relevancy is hard to maintain when no one can see the games.

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The blackout problem is not going away

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The blackout problem is not going away

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The blackout problem is not going away

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 4, 2011 1:08 pm

The blackout problem is not going away

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Since: Mar 17, 2007
Posted on: September 9, 2010 8:08 pm

The blackout problem is not going away

blah, blah, blah, humble fan.  you are a f***ing idiot that can't read.  i never compared college with pro ball.  i said there is a better choice.  hell, i'd rather watch a high school football game than those over-paid, prima donna jags.  and to make matters worse, now you are nothing but a stupid yankee.  there's a reason we have bumper stickers down here that say "we don't care how you do it up north".

Since: Sep 9, 2010
Posted on: September 9, 2010 4:15 pm

The blackout problem is not going away

Dear ojdidit,

YOU are the reason NFL teams have black outs.  Your response motivated me enough to sign up and post my first message ever.  I feel I'm a qualified Jags fan (for better or worse) that had season tickets from 1995-2008 but now I live in New Jersey and can't go to games.  Sounds like you have the opportunity to go but CHOOSE NOT TO, so therein lies the black out problem.  It scares me to think I might lose my NFL team to another city because of delusional fans like you.  I noticed you mentioned 4 teams that are not NFL rather college teams.  College football and NFL football are 2 completely different games.  College you have to get through the season with 1 loss at most to have a chance for the title.  In the NFL a 9-7 team can get the wildcard spot and still have a chance at getting to the big game.  Look at the 1996 Jags if you're so inclined, they went 9-7 then lost in the AFC title game.  It's fair weather college fans like you that expect their NFL team to win every damn game and stop attending when they don't.  Yes, as fans we expect the team to put the best possible product out there to win and we have every right to.  But there comes a time when every fan has the decision to be loyal or not and continue on with the team.  Look at the countless Lions and Saints seasons where the fans wore bags on their heads but STILL went to the games.  You might read this and think what is this old guy talking about, not the case dude I'm 29.  Just a guy who has a little more loyalty and level headed expectations out of a NFL team than you.   Thank you come again.

Since: Sep 6, 2006
Posted on: September 9, 2010 2:52 pm

The blackout problem is not going away

It's funny to me that no one is discussing the real issue in this blackout madness.

"Ticket Brokers"

You know, the vultures that go and buy up tickets in bulk and resell them at a RIDICULOUS rate.  I checked for a ticket a month ago to the Texans/Cowboys game in Houston in 2 weeks and they were asking for $350-$1000 for tickets in the 100 sections or club level.  Please keep in mind the face value of a ticket that I saw at StubHub for $400 and at eBay for $650 was $78!

Until the NFL addresses that not only will fans such as myself who don't live in the city of my favorite team not attend games we just won't support their brand at all and simply watch whatever game is on free TV and never buy another jersey, hat, bumper sticker or anything.

This is disrespectful of the fans who can and will shell out face value of a ticket to be extorted for 10 times that amount at sites like StubHub and TicketExchange and other sites that run ads during NFL games and on the NFL Network.  The reason that fans don't go to games is because fans can't buy a ticket that is less than a car note.

Since: Aug 18, 2009
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:41 pm

The blackout problem is not going away

I prefer have a noisy morron next to me then having some stiff fans who only cheers when there team score a touchdown. 

Since: Jul 31, 2009
Posted on: September 9, 2010 1:11 pm

The blackout problem is not going away

What's wrong with what tnmiddlewhite said?  He said he understands that people don't have the disposible income to get out to games, but it is still worth it to be there in person.  "A-hole?"  "Scum?"   I've got news for you PrydofCucamonga; that isn't tnmiddlewhite you are looking at when saying that slander;  it is a mirror!!!

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