The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinnati Bengals will be blacked out on local television on Sunday, meaning the NFL has now had 22 local blackouts in the 2010 season — the same number it had in 2009, which was a five-year high.
And last year’s mark may be broken before the day is out: The Raiders haven’t announced yet whether they’ve sold out their game against the Colts, and the Chiefs haven’t announced whether they’ve sold out their game against the Titans.
The increase in local TV blackouts is a sign that even the mighty NFL isn’t immune to the realities of the nation’s economy. It’s also a reminder that rising TV ratings haven’t corresponded with more people buying tickets.
But it’s not all bad news at the gate: The Rams, who have been among the teams that struggled to sell tickets in recent years, have already announced that their surprisingly relevant Sunday game with the 49ers is sold out. And even the lowly Bills managed to sell out their game against the Patriots.