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Minnesota’s “no blackout” provision may not be so crazy, after all

Vikings Stadium AP

When word first emerged on Tuesday that the Minnesota Senate had amended the stadium bill to prevent any Vikings games played at the proposed facility from being blacked out, it seemed ludicrous to think that such a stipulation would fly, given the NFL’s staunch insistence on adhering to its decades-old blackout policy.

But then the light bulb flickered.  The NFL doesn’t need to carve out an exception to the blackout policy in order to allow the games played at the new stadium to be televised locally.  Instead, as part of the Vikings’ contribution to the stadium construction, the team must commit to purchasing — at 34 cents on the dollar — any unsold non-premium tickets.

If the stadium will consistently be sold out for Vikings games, such a commitment will cost the team nothing.  And so, at a time when the Vikings are facing the possibility of their share shooting from $427 million to $532 million, why not offer to guarantee a sellout for every game in exchange for holding the contribution to $427 million?

It would be a tremendous P.R. coup for the Vikings.

Of course, the NFL may not prefer that type of precedent, since it would then be used when public money is being finagled for other new stadiums.  But it makes plenty of sense.  If public money is going to be used, the public should be allowed to stay home and watch the games played in the stadium that it paid for.

And if the NFL is going to operate in a manner that doesn’t give rise to antitrust concerns, the NFL should let the Vikings do whatever they choose in this regard.

For more, here’s a non-blacked-out segment from PFT Live.

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37 Responses to “Minnesota’s “no blackout” provision may not be so crazy, after all”
  1. tdk24 says: May 9, 2012 6:53 PM

    Is that artists rendition of the stadium in Los Angeles or something? Because it sure doesn’t look like downtown Minneapolis, that is for sure.

  2. peacensapp says: May 9, 2012 6:54 PM

    I like this idea. Blackouts suck, and they don’t seem to solve the issue anyway. Just look at Tampa Bay and Cincinnati.

  3. getadealdonealready says: May 9, 2012 6:54 PM

    I couldn’t agree more.

  4. staffordsyear says: May 9, 2012 7:05 PM

    Their fans dont plop down on the couch now to watch a 3 win season so why would they in the future?..you may get a new stadium but theres no way these fans have the passion to sit threw struggling seasons.

    Just speaking from what I see every sunday.

  5. squared80 says: May 9, 2012 7:05 PM

    Just build it already.

  6. beavertonsteve says: May 9, 2012 7:09 PM

    and if a team isn’t selling out and they are being forced to purchase all the unused tickets they will have a lot more incentive to either A) Get better or B) find a way to lower ticket prices enough to sell them.

  7. redwinglion says: May 9, 2012 7:17 PM

    Or, the NFL could just get rid of the archaic blackout rule altogether.

  8. patriots123456 says: May 9, 2012 7:19 PM

    The NFL shoudn’t be allowed to have it both ways.

    If they want the public to help pay for a multy million dollar stadium, then the public at the very least should be able to watch their Team on TV.

  9. contra74 says: May 9, 2012 7:20 PM

    Very smart move by the Vikings.

  10. johnnyjagfan says: May 9, 2012 7:21 PM

    Florio: Legal question–why can’t state statute trump NFL Rules? Why should the Vikings be forced to buy up tickets to meet the NFL policy if state statute prohibits the blacking out on television of games played in this state-financed venue? NFL policy can’t trump state statute nor can you contract for an illegality. I believe we’ve just seen precedent better than Nixon could have ever wanted when he was trying to get the NFL to lift the blackout on the Redskins in the playoffs while he was President. If the state won’t allow the blackout for the League’s franchise to use the venue, how can the league circumvent the law?

  11. vikingsinla says: May 9, 2012 7:24 PM

    contra74 says: May 9, 2012 7:20 PM

    Very smart move by the Vikings.
    —————————————–
    The Vikings? This was an amendment made by the legislature. The Vikings would oppose this, as they want to use the blackout threat to sell tickets. Try to keep up.

  12. veence69 says: May 9, 2012 7:31 PM

    Put a winning product on the field and this isn’t an issue.

  13. duluthvikesfan says: May 9, 2012 7:31 PM

    Nice idea. But I am guessing the “no blackout” amendment was the first thing the conference committee took out of the bill today.

  14. tropboi11 says: May 9, 2012 7:34 PM

    That’s a great idea, too bad the Bucs were not smart enough to make that deal when they built the Ray Jay, I have always complained about the fact that our community had to pay for the stadium but if we don’t sell-out we don’t get to watch it at home.

  15. jackdaniels1973 says: May 9, 2012 7:41 PM

    Including a ticket guarantee as part of a lease agreement is not always a good idea. The Vikings should ask the City of San Diego how well a ticket guarantee works when it negotiated one as part of the Qualcom renovations in the late 90s. It was a HUGE pr disaster, and one of the main reasons why the Chargers can not get a new stadium built in San Diego.

  16. nicksaviking says: May 9, 2012 7:54 PM

    That’s incorrect vikingsinla. The Vikings would be thrilled about getting rid of the blackout rule. Every franchise worries more about losing every television viewer. A couple extra fans in the stand does not make up for that loss. The Vikings haven’t had a blackout since 1997, but check with the Bengals. They do not enjoy the blackout rule.

  17. 86chawk says: May 9, 2012 8:02 PM

    Everyone seems to think that this is smart on the States part but think that if… say 5,000 people decided to stay home and watch the game that would be lost revenue for the state on drinks, food, parking, ect. ect. I don’t see this staying in the stadium bill once they really take a hard look at it.

  18. dznutz28 says: May 9, 2012 8:17 PM

    If the owners and public are partners in paying for the stadium and the owners get a luxury suite then at the very least the public should have the right to watch from home.

  19. pdkknelson says: May 9, 2012 8:17 PM

    Build it and they will come…or at least the Vikings will buy the tickets.

  20. vikingsinla says: May 9, 2012 8:24 PM

    nicksaviking says: May 9, 2012 7:54 PM

    That’s incorrect vikingsinla. The Vikings would be thrilled about getting rid of the blackout rule. Every franchise worries more about losing every television viewer. A couple extra fans in the stand does not make up for that loss. The Vikings haven’t had a blackout since 1997, but check with the Bengals. They do not enjoy the blackout rule.

    ————————————-

    First of all, congrats on managing to read my comment before it was deleted for the 20th time! (I’ve copy/pasted this reply, and it will be continuously reposted if/when deleted).

    To respond: as I understand it, the blackout rule is entirely optional. There is no official NFL bylaw that prohibits a game from being locally televised when a home game isn’t a sell-out. If you can find evidence to the contrary, I’d genuinely appreciate it.

    TV contract money is set in stone, regardless of if the game is locally broadcast, so NFL owners ensure maximum profits by making sure there is enough gate revenue by threat of black-out.

  21. joyjoy69 says: May 9, 2012 9:07 PM

    Genius! If there is one really stupid provision in the league right now it is the blackout rule. Intended to encourage fans to buy tickets rather than watch the free game on TV, it effectively makes it impossible for struggling teams to build a fan base. Teams like Jacksonville find it hard to build a fan base when the games aren’t even on TV. It’s a little like saying if there is no egg, you can’t have the chicken, when you need chicken to lay the eggs…

  22. rlewis2 says: May 9, 2012 9:26 PM

    John Beck good QB just not a starter for any team

  23. thetooloftools says: May 9, 2012 9:46 PM

    Mike.. tremendous. bravo. no joke. great points and i could not agree with you more. i feel the same way. what would the downside be?

  24. freemanmvp says: May 9, 2012 9:48 PM

    They gotta get this worked out.I’m not a Vikings Fan but I cant imagine NFL Football without the Vikings.Don’t let no more teams get relocated for any reason like what happen to the Browns, luckily they got there team back.It’s not fair to Fans who live and die by there NFL team to lose them over a little money.They mean too much to there Fans.

  25. conormacleod says: May 9, 2012 9:52 PM

    Well, since the state is only paying half the price for the privilege of using the stadium 355 days a year, I think the most they could ask for is having half the games not blacked out.

  26. thankheavenfornumberseven says: May 9, 2012 10:13 PM

    This really is a non-issue and the Vikings should agree to do it. The Vikings sold out every game the last two years despite a 9-23 record and the worst stadium in the NFL. I think the fans will show up to the Billion Dollar Palace.

  27. drunkwino says: May 9, 2012 11:06 PM

    The blackout rule probably does need to die. The whole drive to get a team in L.A. is that they are the second largest television market in the US. If television revenue is more important than totally selling out a stadium, then really the blackout rule only hurts the NFL instead of the fans.

    Plus, face it. L.A. has lost all it’s teams because the people didn’t support mediocre or bad teams. When that happens, the second largest television market in America had no NFL on their TV. I don’t think much has changed there as far as fan support goes. After all, they refuse to put up a dime of their tax money towards a stadium. Why should they get rewarded with a team at the expence of fans willing to put up their own money for a stadium.

    Leave the Vikings in Minnesota where they belong.

  28. purple4reak says: May 9, 2012 11:11 PM

    staffordsyear says:
    May 9, 2012 7:05 PM
    Their fans dont plop down on the couch now to watch a 3 win season so why would they in the future?..you may get a new stadium but theres no way these fans have the passion to sit threw struggling seasons.

    Just speaking from what I see every sunday.
    ———————————————————————————–
    What exactly do you see every Sunday, Staffordsyear, besides the piles of leaded paint chips on your breakfast, lunch, and dinner plates? Take a look at the 3rd paragraph contained in the link below (the 3rd comes after the 2nd, and the 2nd comes after the 1st…thought I’d clarify, as I’m sure you need it)…

    http://www.startribune.com/politics/statelocal/134646303.html

  29. mikel119 says: May 9, 2012 11:11 PM

    Thay need to pass a law ..then let the nfl go to court and defend blacking out games to the people that paid to build the stadium.

  30. cougar69rt03 says: May 9, 2012 11:18 PM

    right now the vikes share comes to 477 million . they have to agree to it before the house or senate will take up the discussion .

  31. buddgrant says: May 9, 2012 11:27 PM

    Keep all those Vikings articles coming Florio! Its good to have you on our side.

  32. cmarsh64 says: May 10, 2012 12:08 AM

    I wouldn’t agree to the increase because the Vikings are playing this year without a lease and are still going to share the profits with the city. They could say no lease you get no money this year and they would be within there legal rights to do so. My question is how much will the city get this year because Ziggy is being a nice guy? So if i’m Ziggy I say no for this reason alone,they are getting money without a lease in place. I’m sure the city will get more than 50 million so why should they pay another 50 mil.

  33. burrito12 says: May 10, 2012 12:10 AM

    Over 3 million people live in the Metropolitan Minneapolis-St. Paul area alone and the team still has to worry about blackouts in a new stadium.? Oh, that’s right, when the Queens suck, which is often, fans will claim that football isn’t everything and there is so much other stuff to do in Minnesota. And when the team is decent, which is rare, they are the “greatest” fans on earth and their team is going all the way. Pathetic.

  34. maverick5266 says: May 10, 2012 12:21 AM

    It is not very often I find myself saying this, but here goes. Hats off on this one Minnesota. If the tax payers are footing a substancial protion of the bill, then they deserve constant access to a tv feed.

    I think the blackout rule is an antiquated rule anyway, and should be scrapped. I am truly suprized the advertisers that purchase massive blocks of add space tollerate any air time being shut down. That combined with the fact that many people cant afford an nfl ticket right now, and that doesnt mean they deserve to not be able to view a football game. Time to wake up Rodger.

  35. marlin6262 says: May 10, 2012 1:24 AM

    Outsmarted the nfl again Minnesotans, you handsome devils you…

  36. r2dtox says: May 10, 2012 3:23 AM

    tdk24 says:
    May 9, 2012 6:53 PM
    Is that artists rendition of the stadium in Los Angeles or something? Because it sure doesn’t look like downtown Minneapolis, that is for sure.

    ——————–

    Hey, numnuts. Guess what, they have lights and even fireworks in Minneapolis. If it were a picture of LA you’d be able to spot the 2000 movie stars and 20,000,000 star f**kers (aka wannabees, aka nobodies).

  37. daysend564 says: May 10, 2012 10:37 AM

    NFL owners won’t go for this. This is basically stealing from them to allow this.

    Blackouts are designed to force people into the stadium, therefore increasing ticket sales. When teams aren’t close, businesses generally step in and buy up the remainder of the tickets. With this, that is no longer necessary.

    What this does do is ensures that a city that doesn’t seem to want the team in it gets the benefit of all games televised. This lowers ticket sales, which due to the revenue sharing model takes money away from the higher grossing teams. In turn, it takes away from the lower revenue teams as they aren’t getting spoon-fed as much money either. This, in turn lowers the salary cap money available to NFL.

    If the NFL wins the Dallas/Washington case, the next time revenue sharing is on the table you can count on a fierce battle since almost every owner that benefitted agreed.

    The NFL can’t, won’t allow it.

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