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FCC considers ending the blackout rule

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Last month, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) called for the NFL to end its “failed” blackout policy, after said policy successfully had prevented six of seven Bengals home games from being televised in the Cincinnati area.

On Thursday, the FCC decided to seek public comment on the elimination of rules that prevent blacked out games from being televised via cable and satellite operators.  If those rules are eliminated by the FCC, blackouts essentially would end.

Per Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, the NFL’s position is that the blackout policy helps keep all games on free television.  Opponents contend that the league now makes the bulk of its money from the sale of TV rights, and that blacking out games due to the presence of unsold non-premium tickets unfairly prevents consumers from watching the games on television.

The move comes at a time when the NFL is struggling in multiple markets with a chronic inability to sell out stadiums.  In places like Jacksonville, St. Louis, Miami, and San Diego, teams at times are buying, either directly or through sponsors, the unsold tickets at 34 cents on the dollar, which is permitted by league rule.

Ultimately, the issue becomes whether the teams are setting prices accurately.  Every team wants its home games to be televised locally, since the broadcast of a game represents a three-hour infomercial in support of the franchise.  But if teams simply can’t sell out on a consistent basis, the teams need to reduce the prices of the tickets until demand and supply properly intersect, or the teams need to win more games and hope nature will take its course.

Regardless, with each passing cycle of multi-billion-dollar TV contracts, it’s hard not to think that the box office receipts have gone from being the primary source of revenue to a secondary stream of cash, at best.  Games played in stadiums that, for most teams, received direct or indirect public funding should be available for the public to enjoy, regardless of whether the team that plays in the stadium knows how to properly ensure that all tickets to the game have been sold.

Since the NFL supports its desire to expand the regular season to 18 games by saying the fans want it, here’s a chance for the fans to make their wishes known on the blackout rule.

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128 Responses to “FCC considers ending the blackout rule”
  1. sourdough says: Jan 13, 2012 10:07 PM

    For once I feel a little government intervention is worthy, especially in the case of publicly funded stadiums.

  2. beltmerica says: Jan 13, 2012 10:12 PM

    Not selling out the stadium? What’s that mean?

  3. nogoodell says: Jan 13, 2012 10:13 PM

    Lower the ticket prices or lift the ban

  4. roamingabriel says: Jan 13, 2012 10:14 PM

    “Ultimately, the issue becomes whether the teams are setting prices accurately.”

    No Mike. Ultimately the issue is whether the ownership of the team in question is putting a quality product on the field.

    Any team that is exciting and wins will draw fans, other than maybe the Bengals…

  5. rushbacker says: Jan 13, 2012 10:20 PM

    Wow. I’m shocked that the NFL pays enough interns to get to ten percent not in favor.

  6. Trey says: Jan 13, 2012 10:20 PM

    Obviously, no one here has business degree. What about the concession (beer and food) money that would be lost? I guess that would hurt PFT’s argument, so let’s not mention it. A blatant straw-man fallacy example.

  7. ilovefoolsball says: Jan 13, 2012 10:21 PM

    All of the people voting yes are Bengals, Chargers, Bucs, and ;) Jaguars fans.

    NOW THEY’LL NEVER GET THE TARPS OFF THOSE SEATS!!!! :(((((((

  8. bucforever says: Jan 13, 2012 10:21 PM

    All of the Bucs games should have been blacked out . Sorry, it still hurts! Seriously I hate the blackout rule. The NFL is making billions off the TV rights . They really don’t need my money. Show the games and quit being so greedy.

  9. jrfrom508 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:22 PM

    People who vote No are idiots.
    Tax dollars contribute to those stadiums and who knows what else.
    Blackouts are a black eye on the shield.

  10. rayvens says: Jan 13, 2012 10:23 PM

    But if teams simply can’t sell out on a consistent basis, the teams need to reduce the prices of the tickets until demand and supply properly intersect, or the teams need to win more games and hope nature will take its course.
    ————–
    Enuff said!!

  11. klutch14u says: Jan 13, 2012 10:25 PM

    Times have changed. With 10 trillion channels on TV if the game isn’t on the “casual” watcher will move on compounding the problem. Once upon a time you had 3-6 channels so if the game wasn’t on you didn’t have much luck otherwise. Way too many other options out there to try and box your potential customers in and force them to buy tickets. Only people this really hurts is the true fans that won’t buy a ticket and the network that paid the incredible amount of money to have the game on it’s network.

  12. esalonen says: Jan 13, 2012 10:25 PM

    The most unfortunate aspect of the blackout rule is that those who may really want to watch their home team but simply can’t afford to go to the stadium have to miss the game because people who may be able to afford it choose not to go.

  13. westcoastraider says: Jan 13, 2012 10:25 PM

    That damn rule makes no sense anyways, just another way to squeeze a dollar out… I thought this was America people

  14. borisbulldog says: Jan 13, 2012 10:27 PM

    Blacking out JAX, STL and MIA actually helps make the local airwaves free of bad TV on Sundays!

  15. lostsok says: Jan 13, 2012 10:28 PM

    “But if teams simply can’t sell out on a consistent basis, the teams need to reduce the prices of the tickets until demand and supply properly intersect, or the teams need to win more games and hope nature will take its course.”

    That sums this up in one concise sentence. Blacking out games is using their anti-trust exemption unfairly. They’ve been getting away with that for years.

    What the NFL has been doing would be like McDonalds not allowing BK to open until THEY sold X number of hamburgers.

  16. drslick01 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:34 PM

    Tactically speaking, the blackouts make the NFL look weak. There are only a handful of cities that have this issue and most of them are small market teams. I also never considered that the stadiums should be publicly enjoyed since they are mostly publicly funded. Makes sense.

  17. bronco1st says: Jan 13, 2012 10:37 PM

    How about allowing fans to buy the tickets at 34 cents on the dollar after a certain date before the game? Why should “sponsors” get the deal and fans not? Selling tickets at a 66% discount starting 48 hours before game time and allowing all games to be televised is a win/win situation for all. Fans who want to insure seats will buy before the deadline and teams won’t have to go begging to “sponsors” with no guarantees that any will bite. At least teams will know that many or most of the seats would be sold rather than possibly getting zip for them. Does this make too much sense?

  18. philtration says: Jan 13, 2012 10:37 PM

    This has been an outdated policy for a long time now.
    Time to get out of the 1970s already.

  19. tatum064 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:37 PM

    They should end it. Hurts the exposure of the league overall. But it also could backfire and create more blackouts, based on teams chances for the playoffs (Nov-Dec). It helps the league, though because football would be on TV in markets during sweeps week , when a lot of teams that are eliminated from post-season play.

  20. dlk81 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:37 PM

    I think they should can the blackout rule. How are people that can’t afford to go to a game supposed to be fans of a team they can’t watch?

  21. Kent Johnson says: Jan 13, 2012 10:38 PM

    Dear NFL Owners —

    Let it go, control freaks.

    Sincerely —
    The Rest of Us

  22. basexc9 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:41 PM

    I have to admit, I would rather sit at home in front of the 50 inch and watch games with commercials with good $1.00 bottles of beer than sit in the cold with an $8.00 bottle of crappy beer where nothing happens for 2 out of the 3 hours.

  23. bvanbvan says: Jan 13, 2012 10:43 PM

    Eliminate it. (or not!)

    We Packer owners and fans couldn’t care less.

  24. Gestapo Goodell says: Jan 13, 2012 10:44 PM

    Great, now I am not going to be able to sleep all holiday weekend.

    Thanks common sense. You got me again.

    Back to saying I am worried about player safety while pushing my 18 game schedule to ease ticket sale erosion … Wait, no one is buying that anymore? … haven’t for a while?

    Crap?!

    I am sorry for being the worst commissioner in the history of organized team sports.

    Gestapo Goodell

  25. numberoneinthehoodg says: Jan 13, 2012 10:47 PM

    Football is great! But,

    Gas to get there from blackout zone is for me $40 easy (minus return) parking $ 35 tickets for a small family of 3 $120, gotta feed them $ 60, kid wants a souvenir $20. Bail after some a-hole grabs my ladies ass……….priceless………

  26. 7pints says: Jan 13, 2012 10:51 PM

    Everyone who voted yes in the poll roots for a team that can’t sell out for an NFL football game. That’s sad!

  27. keeponhating says: Jan 13, 2012 10:54 PM

    I don’t know who they think they are stopping from seeing the games. You can watch the games online for free. They might as well let us watch the games in HD instead of poor quality internet streams. Bigger viewing audience = bigger contract $$$

  28. vikingdoode says: Jan 13, 2012 10:54 PM

    If they lift this rule and then make it’s pay preview. Then tv networks don’t need to pay as much! Damn if you damn if you don’t. With nation wide jobless workers this is probably not a good time to force the hand! Frankly would keep bars in business for common folk.

  29. amg503 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:56 PM

    It’s stupid.

    ^This is my opinion.

  30. joec36 says: Jan 13, 2012 10:56 PM

    whoever votes no is a terrorist

  31. claydefayette says: Jan 13, 2012 10:56 PM

    The blackouts have screwed over fan bases that have still showed the loyalty to still tune in to watch poor organizations.

    Eminem speaks for all of us-“So the FCC wont let me be”

  32. sjsuraider says: Jan 13, 2012 10:58 PM

    Good it’s a dumb rule

  33. b3nz0z says: Jan 13, 2012 11:05 PM

    how do these captains of industry fail to understand supply and demand?

  34. Mr. Hand says: Jan 13, 2012 11:08 PM

    If there was a big time concert in that same taxpayer funded stadium, would I expect that to be televised on free tv for me to watch it from my couch?

    Of course not. If I want to see the show, I’ll have to buy a ticket.

    Why would anyone expect he NFL to be any different?

  35. JSpicoli says: Jan 13, 2012 11:12 PM

    Contraction is in the future. The blackouts are not going to get any better.

  36. shaggytoodle says: Jan 13, 2012 11:14 PM

    I will be be taking a dirt nap by the time a Packers game isn’t sold out because of thier waiting list. It doesn’t matter to me one bit.

  37. bleedgreen says: Jan 13, 2012 11:14 PM

    It’s not only the cost of tickets that prevents a lot of people from going. $100 a ticket, $25 to park, $9 for 16oz of beer, $7 for a hot dog and $7 for a soda? Multiply that by 3 for a small family and its a $600 excursion. And if your team sucks like in 16 or so markets on any given season, where is the fun! Not to mention its not possible to get tickets for < 3x face value for some teams (Philly, green bay, nyg, Pittsburgh) and it severely limits your marketing ability. I can watch at home on my 70" LCD in surround sound and hd without getting raped on concessions…. And best of all, no lines for the pisser.

  38. garryjercia says: Jan 13, 2012 11:24 PM

    Why would you click the link simply to register your ‘No Opinion’

  39. scytherius says: Jan 13, 2012 11:26 PM

    Are the 455 “no” votes the owners and their families?

  40. thetobygrizwold says: Jan 13, 2012 11:26 PM

    No 18-game schedule!

  41. bobby4413 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:29 PM

    Please be true, still want to watch my Fins regardless of how inept our ownership is!

  42. sumoson says: Jan 13, 2012 11:29 PM

    The One and ONLY bad thing about the NfL is the blackout rule

  43. benjaminwhite11 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:32 PM

    Who in the hell voted “no” in this poll?

  44. dmartin17 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:33 PM

    It is the only incentive for fans to go to the stadium in this day and age of HDTV.

  45. iplaybad says: Jan 13, 2012 11:35 PM

    End the blackout rule and put everything on cable and satellite.

  46. mrvikingsfan11 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:36 PM

    Awesome, no blackouts would rock, NFL wants fans and has the money to make this a reality, I would vote yes end blackouts. People will always go to the games.

  47. fbnetjunky says: Jan 13, 2012 11:42 PM

    Just love putting up that pick anytime there is a ticket story, don’t ya? the problem with lifting the blackout rule is you would have half filled stadiums all over the country every week. Even at places that don’t have ticket issues. Give people the choice between sitting at home in front of the tv and sitting in the pouring rain or snow and what do you think they will pick? I would still go, and so would tons of other fans, but i promise in a few years there will be plenty of available seats even in places like greenbay and Pittsburgh.

  48. mattforbid says: Jan 13, 2012 11:44 PM

    No blackouts here in Baltimore. Couldn’t imagine not being able to see the game on sundays.

  49. edgarpoe2 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:46 PM

    I never understood the blackout rule. I would think that the best way to get more people in the stadiums would be for the respective teams to get as much TV exposure as possible. As it stands now, the teams that are blacked out are punished by taking away their best marketing tool.

    If I were in a city where most games were blacked out, I’d lose interest quickly and find other things to do. And I would be less inclined to buy tickets for a game. But, if I see the games on TV, see and learn about the players, coaches, etc. I might want to watch a few home games at the stadium.

  50. dixon29 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:48 PM

    As someone who lives in PA who is a Browns fan yet somehow lives in the Buffalo viewing area… PLEASE GOD NO!

  51. tarken10 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:52 PM

    It’s not the “Blackout” Rule. It’s always been the “Blackmail” Rule. The NFL blackmails the fans into filling stadiums or the fans will not get to see their home team on television.

    The NFL’s extortion program seems to have turned in on itself. Good. The fans who made the NFL what it is today deserve better treatment.

  52. edgarpoe2 says: Jan 13, 2012 11:54 PM

    The NFL is too greedy for its own good. The blackouts are stupid and alienates the fans. The same thing goes for NFL merchandise.

    They overprice their products and complain about knockoff jerseys taking a hit on their profits. As a consumer, who would pay $300 for a jersey when they could buy a knockoff for $30? If the NFL would price their merchandise more reasonably, then maybe they would not have to worry about fans buying knockoffs.

    In both cases, the NFL would do better if it would listen to the fans instead of squeezing them out of their hard-earned money. Blackouts make no sense and I would applaud the elimination of them.

  53. blackbeardk says: Jan 14, 2012 12:03 AM

    How about lift the blackout rule but not for free TV…only NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers who are paying huge fees could watch the games…

    And if the fans don’t have NFL Sunday Ticket let them support their local bar who does and pays even huger fees for NFL Sunday Ticket….

  54. myeaglescantwin says: Jan 14, 2012 12:17 AM

    It’s about time they thought about giving back. If they want to make us suffer through tv timeouts, we better be able to view our home teams.
    (not that’s ever a problem for philly)

  55. myeaglescantwin says: Jan 14, 2012 12:20 AM

    @dmartin

    The world is better off without fans like you. Your fanhood is definitely in question

  56. alonestartexan says: Jan 14, 2012 12:21 AM

    If a market with over a million people in their metro can’t sell out a 65,000 seat stadium 10 times a year than NO, they don’t deserve to get to watch the team on Television.

    You can’t have it both ways. If the game is on T.V. and NOT sold out, what’s the incentive to sell out the games when the average joe shmo can use his ticket money to buy a big screen TV and watch at home ?

    It’s a business, It’s not a charity, Maybe one day UNICEF will get into the pro football business, but for now, the NFL is the only game in town. If you’re a “fan” put up or shut up.

  57. nomesayin says: Jan 14, 2012 12:22 AM

    I always get a chuckle when I see a”No Opinion” selection option on a poll…& that some will take the time to click on it as they have come to that realization.

    Isn’t it actually a matter of “I can’t make up my mind”? “I haven’t given the matter enough thought”? Or do they actually have “No Opinion”?

    If you think about it, how is it even possible to have no opinion? If you take the effort to decide that you will actually take the question seriously enough to vote on it, this must mean that your opinion is that you have no opinion.

    I guess that passive/aggresive has now been turned inside out into aggresive/passive?

  58. stevenfbrackett says: Jan 14, 2012 12:25 AM

    the NFL’s position is that the blackout policy helps keep all games on free television.

    But all games are not on free television and haven’t been for years. When was the last time Monday Night Football was on free TV? Or the games that are on the NFL Network?

    Last time I looked, you had to pay for cable and satellite and those are the only way to see those games.

    I happen to live in an area where I can legitimately root for three teams as I am more or less located on the middle of the triangle their home cities creates. Often I can watch all three of these teams on free TV and yet, several times a year the only way I can catch the games is on radio, which particularly sucks when these division rivals play each other.

  59. buzzbissinger says: Jan 14, 2012 12:32 AM

    Call it what it is:

    Blackmail Rule

  60. edgarpoe2 says: Jan 14, 2012 12:34 AM

    Since the NFL supports its desire to expand the regular season to 18 games by saying the fans want it, here’s a chance for the fans to make their wishes known on the blackout rule.
    ————————————————-
    I believe the NFL will eventually be 18 games, but it won’t be because most fans desire it.

  61. astrosfan75956 says: Jan 14, 2012 12:41 AM

    I agree they MUST lower prices before I bring my family to any games. I would just assume get the Sunday Ticket and watch the Cowboys from my couch.

  62. klunge says: Jan 14, 2012 12:49 AM

    Trey says:Jan 13, 2012 10:20 PM

    Obviously, no one here has business degree. What about the concession (beer and food) money that would be lost? I guess that would hurt PFT’s argument, so let’s not mention it. A blatant straw-man fallacy example.
    ——————————————————-

    Nobody needs a business degree to realize they are getting fleeced at the concession stands just like they generally are on the admission ticket. You fail to mention that gouging on concessions is a factor in some people preferring to watch from home and drink their own beer, because that hurts YOUR argument.

    They can’t “lose” money they never had, the point being that some people can’t or wouldn’t go to the game anyways. By blacking them out the NFL is simply preventing their high-paying TV advertisers from reaching hundreds of thousands more people. The article is spot-on…most revenue now comes from broadcasting rights, and blackouts mean no advertising dollars which means reduced revenue. I’m actually surprised the NFLPA hasn’t sued over this yet.

  63. buzzbissinger says: Jan 14, 2012 12:50 AM

    I’ve been a football fan for roughly 35 years, I am by no means a season ticket holder, but I’ve been to my fair share of games. That being said, the reasoning behind this rule is I’ll buy a ticket because I won’t be able to see my team on TV right? Guess how many times I’ve done that in 35 years: Once.

  64. keeponhating says: Jan 14, 2012 12:50 AM

    “Its the fellas at the freakin FCC” haha family guy is great

  65. djdvd says: Jan 14, 2012 12:58 AM

    You would show Jags seats, you know the team who hasn’t had a blackout in how long? PFT’s hate of the Jags knows no bounds.

  66. skolvikesskol says: Jan 14, 2012 1:19 AM

    Its simple supply demand setting market prices. The owners need to react to these market fluctuations… Then when they win, they raise prices… Duh

  67. maddenisfordorks says: Jan 14, 2012 1:25 AM

    Tickets cost WAY to much.

    NFL is neat, but not worth the current price, especially when they’re trying to phase out defense.

  68. derekjetersmansion says: Jan 14, 2012 1:25 AM

    You guys are just figuring out how capitalism works? Cute.

  69. jag8r904 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:32 AM

    Nice pic A*******. No pics of empty seats in Tampa Bay where there actually ARE blackouts and this story would be relevant?

  70. roamingabriel says: Jan 14, 2012 1:37 AM

    Way to go Mike, we can vote as many times as we like???

    If the FCC wanted to do something constructive they wood investigate NBC for impersonating a news network…

  71. dontouchmyjunk says: Jan 14, 2012 1:41 AM

    Free football but not free health care. That’s Amurika for ya’.

  72. jetsetfred says: Jan 14, 2012 1:47 AM

    Why punish the Fan if your Product on the Field Suck! New Rule.. if you above 500. and can’t sell out then.. Black it out.. if you at 500. and below and can’t sell out.. show the fricken game!

  73. shadowman1946 says: Jan 14, 2012 1:51 AM

    When you buy a ticket your not goung to look at the stadium. You are going to see the players and
    that isn’t paid for by us but by the owners. not only that ford field was paid for by Mr Ford. When you take the 10 bil. Give half to the players and devide the other half by 31 teams thae comes to 200 mil per team you pay the players and coaches how much is left.

  74. northstars1991 says: Jan 14, 2012 2:05 AM

    Greedy NFL Billionaire owners, it’s never enough for these endless control freaks and their mission to own everyone and everything…

  75. northstars1991 says: Jan 14, 2012 2:12 AM

    It’s true, anyone who would vote “no” is an idiot. There are approximately 120 major league pro sports teams in this country. I can understand 120 multi-millionaire/billionaire owners voting no, but the other 250,000,000+ would be absolute fools to vote any other way…

  76. titsburgfeelers says: Jan 14, 2012 2:54 AM

    This is So The smart people in Oakland that don’t go to the Side show of freaks on sundays can stay home and watch when a real Qb on a real team come to town. Every body loves Tebow!! They just don’t want sit with the Bearded lady and the Three eyed dwarf with skeleton makeup on.

  77. hedleykow says: Jan 14, 2012 3:02 AM

    Live in a freaking cow town and no games are ever blacked out. The downside is all the cow patties everywhere you go.

  78. sdb0ltz says: Jan 14, 2012 3:27 AM

    Look.. EVERY stadium that is built requires some type of Taxpayers dollars. We are CHOOSING to vote, approve and pay these taxes to get these stadiums built so the team and owner and profit and move forward as a billion organization in each football City…. the LEAST the NFL could do is show some appreciation and lift this INSULTING blackout rule.

    It’s a smack in face to the Football Fans and a sickeneing way to take advantage of our rabid fandom.

    Knock it off d/cks!

  79. jimmysee says: Jan 14, 2012 4:18 AM

    ” but i promise in a few years there will be plenty of available seats even in places like greenbay and Pittsburgh.

    I don’t believe that’s true. No one is going to games in Green Bay or Pittsburgh because they’re afraid of blackouts.

    Green Bay’s been sold out since, what, Lombardi arrived? Through good years and bad.

    And a 99 year wait for season tickets.

    Anyone who wants to can watch any Packers or Stillers home game on the tube now.

  80. fmwarner says: Jan 14, 2012 5:08 AM

    Every single TV show gives away tickets for free. Considering that the NFL is basically a TV show, they could at the very least price tickets in a manner that ensures a full studio audience.

  81. jdesan says: Jan 14, 2012 5:11 AM

    I feel your pain dixon29…. but it’s worse here in Youngstown, Ohio. We are 60 miles from Pittsburg and 60 miles from Cleveland. Many times the Browns are blacked out. According to the NFL, Pittsburg has designated youngstown as part of it’s fan base. WTF? How can a team from another state do that? This is Ohio. I don’t care if we’re 10 miles from PA. It’s still Ohio.

    I’ve complained to the local CBS station about this and they tell me they petiton for the Browns game but the NFL decides who gets to see what. I’m not sure I’m buying that.

    I think it’s more about money. We have alot of front runners here in youngstown and I think it’s felt the advertising will reach a larger audiance showing the Freakin Steelers.

    By the way.. Thank you Tim Tebow. I can now enjoy the rest of the Playoffs.

  82. steelerhypocrite says: Jan 14, 2012 5:42 AM

    The senator is a Bengals fan, where was this interest 10 years ago when the Bungels sucked?

  83. ilivincin says: Jan 14, 2012 6:04 AM

    As a Bengal fan, its hard to follow a team where the owner seems to not give a f### what the fans think. They have the absolute worst PR department in the game, virtually no front office either that isn’t related to the Brown family. That being said, they put a much better product on the field this year, we will come back to support and will never trap anything, never have. Ohio its a football state.

  84. wldkat says: Jan 14, 2012 6:25 AM

    Oh Great… You know what this will lead to, the Packers getting their own “24 hour Packer channel” and charging their fans $250 for the priviledge of watching them on TV.

  85. corzman69 says: Jan 14, 2012 6:28 AM

    I have been a Broncos fan since 1969 and have been to a grand total of TWO games ! Of course, It doesn’t help that I live in Richmond, Virginia. With that being said, If I lived in an NFL city, I’d be at every game I could. Even if that meant giving blood every day or standing outside an inner city convenience store bumming quarters !
    Personally, I’d like to see the blackout policy lifted. However, fans in NFL cities need to support their teams. Use it or lose it! Hell, look at Cleveland. That city has been shredded by the economy. The Browns always suck and always sell out.

  86. xmgmx says: Jan 14, 2012 7:04 AM

    I caught myself daydreaming while reading these posts, then had this sad revelation….. ‘Wouldn’t it be great if the NFL, from the commish and owners down to the ball boys, reverted back to the ONLY important thing about this game is PLAYING FOOTBALL.

  87. beej6 says: Jan 14, 2012 7:28 AM

    You can read a copy of the original petition – search “sports fan coalition” for their website. At the FCC’s website, I got to learn what an “MVPD” is = multichannel video programming distributor.

    I voted yes to eliminate the rule – though in a weird way if a “bad” team (e.g. playing poorly, owner’s a jerk) is blacked out, the network could be forced to show a “better” football game rather than automatically showing the home team (right dixon29?)

    If a stadium is privately funded does this change matters? New York/New Jersey has the only 100% private stadium built since 1997 – could they keep the right to local blackouts? Perhaps – the owners may have some right to protect their investment? Of course NY/NJ draws from a huge population base and has two teams so they may have less of a blackout problem.

  88. dd393 says: Jan 14, 2012 7:48 AM

    I would think that Sen. Brown would have more important things to do, like maybe running the country. Or collecting money from lobbyists. Or going on junkets to see that the Bahamas are safe from the Godless Commies.

  89. briang123 says: Jan 14, 2012 7:57 AM

    I don’t know which is more archaic, the blackout policy or the policies of the Republican Party.

  90. egetto says: Jan 14, 2012 8:03 AM

    Couldn’t help but notice the empty teal seat picture that you love to stick in every Jag article and the Jags being mentioned first……even though they are in the best shape with 62K+ avg attendance and no blackouts for 2 full years with a team that is struggling on the field, in a small market and large stadium. What should it be? 70K and leading the NFL? ..oh never mind, keep the agenda and Jax bashing going, we love it.

  91. bloggingpoodlewalker says: Jan 14, 2012 8:12 AM

    Dear Packer fan who thinks its great to never have a blackout,…when a team consistantly sells out it means one thing, you live in a miserable place where theres nothing else to do consistantly, year around…ya, I want to live up in Michigan, Wisconsin,…lol.

  92. kenboslice says: Jan 14, 2012 8:17 AM

    Great, now even less people will show up to the games. hope you enjoy watching empty stadiums.

  93. kenny328usa says: Jan 14, 2012 8:20 AM

    Finally Tampa fans will get to watch home games

  94. grogansheroes says: Jan 14, 2012 8:22 AM

    I can’t stand GODdell and the way the NFL runs things, but it is a private business. They can do what they want. As for the taxpayer funded stadiums? It’s a business investment just like the local cities and towns do for other business’.

  95. discosucs2005 says: Jan 14, 2012 8:27 AM

    @Trey

    Do you have any data to support your implied premise that in-stadium purchases (such as concession stands) would make the stadiums the primary source of income for the NFL?

    I expected better from someone who knows what fallacies are.

  96. nationalmediacansuckit says: Jan 14, 2012 8:30 AM

    The move comes at a time when the NFL is struggling in multiple markets with a chronic inability to sell out stadiums.  In places like Jacksonville, St. Louis, Miami, and San Diego, teams at times are buying, either directly or through sponsors, the unsold tickets at 34 cents on the dollar, which is permitted by league rule.
    ——————————————
    But in places like Oakland, Cincinnati and Tampa owners are not paying 34 cents on the dollar b/c these teams are 20k tickets short and buying remaining tickets is pointless. If you’re going to write a story then write the whole story instead of pointing out your usual targets, especially Jax.

  97. nattaggart says: Jan 14, 2012 8:30 AM

    Keep the blackout’s. LOWER the ticket prices 50% – 75% and you’ll start filling the stadium’s. You’ll make up the difference with concession’s, fan gear and such. Also winning will help :-)

  98. discosucs2005 says: Jan 14, 2012 8:32 AM

    @kenboslice

    “Great, now even less people will show up to the games. hope you enjoy watching empty stadiums.”

    Two things:

    First, is there anything that shows blackouts increase attendance? When six of seven Cincinnati home games are blacked out, that would seem to imply that blackouts aren’t encouraging fans to go.

    Second, I don’t know how you watch football, but I’m not too preoccupied with the amount of people in the stadium. Sure, I notice it, but the game is my main concern. It wouldn’t bother me, and I suspect most other fans (although speak up if I’m wrong) to get to actually watch my team, even if the stadium doesn’t have that many fans.

  99. tmb333 says: Jan 14, 2012 8:34 AM

    I think that any stadium that received on dollar of public money, loans or tax incentives to build, renovate, maintain etc, should be exempt from the blackout rules.

    If the owner paid every single penny to construct his stadium and has never received a penny from the public coffers, they should be permitted to blackout games that did not sellout.

    I am not sure if any stadium would be able to blackout games today.

    Why force taxpayers to pay for stadiums, yet blackout a game? Many that pay taxes connot afford to attend the games.

    Just think how salaries would plummet if the teams had to pay all their expenses with no assist from taxpayers. Currently, the so called market rate is distorted because all the expenses are not incurred by the owners.

  100. jimmysee says: Jan 14, 2012 8:55 AM

    bloggingpoodlewalker says:
    Jan 14, 2012 8:12 AM

    Dear Packer fan who thinks its great to never have a blackout,…when a team consistantly sells out it means one thing, you live in a miserable place where theres nothing else to do consistantly, year around…ya, I want to live up in Michigan, Wisconsin,…lol.

    ————————————————————–

    You don’t get out much, do you?

    It’s a big beautiful country out there.

    You really should check it out.

  101. throwntothelions says: Jan 14, 2012 9:01 AM

    Blackout rules make no sense. Live in a small town in MN. My internet connection routes through Rochester, MN. Rochester, MN is considered by MLB to be in the Milwaukee Braves blackout area. From where I live Milwaukee is 319 miles away. So I am blacked out for all braves home games by MLB blackout rules.

  102. buckeye1nation says: Jan 14, 2012 9:07 AM

    Mr hand said:
    If there was a big time concert in that same taxpayer funded stadium, would I expect that to be televised on free tv for me to watch it from my couch?

    Of course not. If I want to see the show, I’ll have to buy a ticket.

    Why would anyone expect he NFL to be any different?
    —————–

    The problem with that logic is that A) The big time show didn’t threaten to pull up stakes and leave if they didn’t get a publicly funded stadium and B) that big time show isn’t on TV in one area of the country and blacked in the city where it is held.

  103. Tom G says: Jan 14, 2012 9:08 AM

    no blackout problem here.Vegas doesn’t have a team.

  104. tombrookshire says: Jan 14, 2012 9:16 AM

    If ending the blackout rule applies only to cable and satellite, then they ought to do it, because people pay money to see those games. The NFL is receiving their money, too and still blacking out their games. Not right.

  105. stew48 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:17 AM

    @bronco1st

    Way to go; best of the best to you.

    Also, do MLB teams follow the same blackout rule? Does the NBA? curious

  106. targetmuff says: Jan 14, 2012 9:19 AM

    Hey congress, instead of targeting the NFL over 1 issue that effects 3-5 cities a week…. use your time and tax money to FIX THE ECONOMY. This is a political ploy to divert attention from the real problems and win public favor.
    Debt 101 says pay off big bills and highest interest first. Same principles here, fix economy before worrying about 3-5 cities watching the NFL 8 Sundays a year!

  107. timpiker says: Jan 14, 2012 9:27 AM

    The government should stop wasting my money. Quit funding football stadiums and leave a private business alone.

    What part of the words “private business” is hard for politicians to understand? Oh I forgot. You don’t need to pass an intelligence test to run for political office in this country…or to vote for that matter. Bunch of idiots.

  108. fezzalar says: Jan 14, 2012 9:28 AM

    Less than 10% of the people affected by blackouts are actually in the market to go to NFL games. The NFL could achieve the same end by directly fining teams that do not sell out their games to prevent under-performing teams from freeloading off TV contracts. Teams are clearly hesitant to lower ticket prices to market clearing levels, probably out of fear that they may lose pricing power at higher price points.

  109. stephenjr311 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:29 AM

    The only people voting no are fans of the high profile teams that just don’t get it. I’m a 49ers fan from the Pittsburgh area and I could see lots of Steelers fans having this opinion. It’s sad because they really have nothing to lose either way. Thinking that less people would go to Steelers games because it wouldn’t be blacked out is ridiculous. I tell you what, over the next year, whenever I talk to a Steelers fan I’ll ask them, “Have you ever gone to a game so that it wouldn’t be blacked out?”

    Blacking out games to get people to buy tickets seems like an intelligent idea on a large scale basis, but really, when it comes down to the individuals making decisions, it just doesn’t work. When it comes down to not watching your team play on Sunday or spending well over $100 you don’t have, it’s a pretty simple decision.

  110. normcfh says: Jan 14, 2012 9:29 AM

    It doesn’t just effect people that live in the same city as the team. I live 3 hours from the stadium and still get blacked out….They need to at LEAST remove blackouts from Sunday Ticket.

  111. harrisonhits2 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:34 AM

    If the league and owners want to pay 100% of the cost of building stadiums then they can keep the blackout rule.

    It’s not acceptable to me that most franchises extort vast amounts of public money to build their palaces, then rape the public to come to them with $10 beers, $40 parking etc, and on top of that limit the ability of the public to view the events in the stadiums they paid for through blackouts.

  112. bluefan204 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:46 AM

    As a Giants fan living in the Tampa area, I rather like the fact that I don’t have to be subjected to watching the Bucs get destroyed.

    The worst, and most idiotic part of the blackout rule is the fact that if the home team is blacked out, they don’t replace it with another game. Seriously….how stupid is that? Where is the logic? Don’t make other NFL fans go without a different game because the local fans are pathetic frontrunners who view their so called team as a “product”

    They’re losing advertising revenue by not showing another game

  113. istateyourname says: Jan 14, 2012 9:50 AM

    So who’s rule is it, the FCC’s or the NFL’s?

    The other rule they should get rid of is the one where they don’t show 4 games on TV if your team is at home. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t, I don’t know how that works. Both networks should have 2 games every Sunday. And while they’re at it, put NFL Network on basic cable or at least the Thursday games should be out there for everyone. And Fox should bring back the bimbo-weather girl segment….

  114. 6thsense79 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:50 AM

    I never understood the blackout rule. In it’s infancy the NFL would have PAID the networks to carry it’s games regardless if they sold out or not. Now that it’s successful it starts punishing fans for not comming to games? Well it punishes home team fans who don’t pay that ransom for the NFL package from Direct TV. It just seems petty and arrogant. The NFL seems to be the only league in the US that does this.

  115. jimr10 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:51 AM

    But Roger Goodell says the fans want blackouts.

  116. 6thsense79 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:52 AM

    alonestartexan says:Jan 14, 2012 12:21 AM

    If a market with over a million people in their metro can’t sell out a 65,000 seat stadium 10 times a year than NO, they don’t deserve to get to watch the team on Television.

    You can’t have it both ways. If the game is on T.V. and NOT sold out, what’s the incentive to sell out the games when the average joe shmo can use his ticket money to buy a big screen TV and watch at home ?

    It’s a business, It’s not a charity, Maybe one day UNICEF will get into the pro football business, but for now, the NFL is the only game in town. If you’re a “fan” put up or shut up.
    ———————————————–
    Thanks for the advice Mike Brown.

  117. drew44 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:53 AM

    End the nonsense.

  118. bwisnasky says: Jan 14, 2012 9:55 AM

    The problem stems from the mistaken belief that EVERYONE is a local sports fan in this country. In the days of the NFL ticket and the internet, when there are choices about what games to watch on Sunday, people in general are going to seek out and watch the most competitive games, not necessarily the game that the old home team is playing in. If you have ownership that is consistently putting a bad product on the field, you are not going to force people to buy tickets to watch bad football just by simply blacking out those local broadcasts. There will be some die hard fans, but to the casual fan, they would rather see a better game anyway than the same sorry franchise blown out. But then again, I also don’t think a network should be required to show a local team that isn’t competitive just because there is a sell out. I think the network should show the most competitive game, and in the case of a game that gets out of hand, they should be able to adjust and provide better tv for the viewers. It was different back when there was less ability to make those changes, but now, it’s a simple switch, and one we’ve all seen made late in games that are over. It’s called progress… let’s not be afraid to change with the times NFL.

  119. mmcdan133 says: Jan 14, 2012 9:56 AM

    I became a former season ticket holder 2 years ago. Unless you have premium seats or live for tailgating, the game experience at the stadium can’t compare to having friends over and watching on a 60″ HDTV with 100 cameras running around to catch every single angle. I’m warm, I’m still with my friends, the beers and food are 90% less….

    Gameday is still great, and I take that season ticket money and take the family on vacation every year. Not going has improved my life. That’s a battle the NFL can’t win.

    I’m sure there are plenty like me. Lift the ban.

  120. cshearing says: Jan 14, 2012 10:05 AM

    It’s an old and archaic rule that should have been removed years ago. Better late than never, I guess.

  121. returnofjags says: Jan 14, 2012 10:27 AM

    It’s Bush’s fault….just joking. Stadiums should sell out. Fans shouldnt expect a handout. Thats the problem with this country right now.
    I’m a season ticket holder for the Jaguars yet I live in Virginia. It is an expensive passion that I have but I’ve had to just work much harder to be able to afford to support my team to the fullest.

  122. ticalcaldwell says: Jan 14, 2012 10:32 AM

    As a Bengals fan I can just say:

    Ahhh Ohio, what we lack in ticket sales…we make up for in battling politicians to end the result…….. of bad ticket sales

  123. raidmagic says: Jan 14, 2012 10:38 AM

    If they do lift the ban please keep blacking out the Bucs games. It’s just hard to watch. The 3 hour infomericals are more intriging.

  124. bigbeefyd says: Jan 14, 2012 11:25 AM

    Bronco fan here. We’ve never (at least not in my lifetime of over 40 years) had a blackout. I can’t understand how an NFL team fails to fill the stands.

  125. waltdawg says: Jan 14, 2012 11:38 AM

    Seems fair to me….Some markets will never sell out…Why punish those who would like to try and follow their fledgling teams and not spend $1800 taking a family of 4 to the game.

    Makes a lot of people start to think….

  126. cjjetsfan says: Jan 14, 2012 12:13 PM

    End the blackout rule, and in time say good bye to home field advantage for most teams. Not that teams like the Bengals have ever had a home field advantage against division rivals since a lot of tickets go to the fans of the away team. But given the cost of tickets in places like NY, and the relatively low cost of watching from home (a 3 hour submission to low brow beer and hip hop inspired car commercials), the choice is pretty easy and going to get easier unless there is some real incentive for fans to part with their money to watch the home team from the stands (such as that being the only way to see them).

  127. melikefootball says: Jan 14, 2012 1:25 PM

    The NFL makes tons of money off everything with their logo. Every fan cannot afford the high prices for tickets, parking, beer, cokes, food and anything at the game. The NFL offic is really lieing when they want to talk about caring for the fans. Stand up or shut up God-del.

  128. thesportgenius says: Jan 14, 2012 2:46 PM

    Teams that are mismanaged and put a crap product on the field should lower prices..that is why a Benz demands a higher price than a Yugo. It is called value. Teams that are exciting pack the stadium and people will pay a premium to get the hot tickets. The money gives incentive to provide value (a good team) and is the basis of capitalism. The NFL because of their monopoly exemption from the government is a collectivist based business. Free market forces are minimized. All teams can sell out every game if they price the tickets accordingly to local demand and they would make up the difference with overpriced parking, food, beer…etc. Seems like a no brainer to me.

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