The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have all but thrown in the towel on selling enough tickets to avoid a local television blackout of their Week 1 home game against the Lions. But while the Bucs’ game will be blacked out, the NFL is close to having every other Week 1 game on local TV.
In Jacksonville, the Jaguars are still 7,000 tickets away from a sellout, which would appear to make a Week 1 blackout likely. But Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union reports that the Jaguars plan to lift the blackout for the opener, presumably meaning they’ll take advantage of the NFL rule that allows the team to buy each unsold ticket at 34 percent of face value. So even though the Jaguars will be playing in front of thousands of empty seats, they’ll also be playing in front of local fans watching from home.
The Chargers announced today that 1,800 general tickets remain unsold for their game on Sunday. That’s close enough that they’ll likely manage to sell out before the blackout deadline, or at least find a corporate sponsor willing to pick up whatever unsold tickets remain.
The Dolphins haven’t sold out Week 1 against the Patriots yet, but they’re expected to get the blackout lifted for their Monday Night Football opener. Week 2 is another story, however: That game is likely to be blacked out in Miami.
In St. Louis, only about 700 to 800 tickets remain for the Rams’ opener against the Eagles, and a sellout appears likely.
Many teams have already sold out Week 1, and the rest of the teams opening at home appear to be in good shape when it comes to ticket sales. So it’s looking like the only Week 1 blackout will be in Tampa Bay. In a lousy economy and after an offseason in which the lockout disrupted ticket sales, the NFL will take that.