And it starts.
With the NFL relaxing the blackout rule to permit teams to televise home games locally if only 85 percent of the non-premium seats are sold, fans — and the media that often speaks on their behalf — will expect teams to do whatever it takes to get the blackouts lifted.
The details won’t matter. So what if the home team has to pick its percentage before the season begins? Who cares if the home team loses 16 cents on the dollar for every ticket sold above the selected minimum? And why fret if the home team guesses wrong the other way, leaving seats still unsold for one or more games and forcing the teams to buy them at 34 cents on the dollar?
The fans will now expect that the teams will do whatever they have to do to get the games on television.
In western New York, the process of applying pressure has commenced, with an editorial in the Buffalo News explaining that the Bills organization “owes it to supporters to do everything it reasonably can to implement this new program.”
The News argues in part that the taxpayers who funded the stadium — and who partially will finance the renovations — deserve the ability to watch the games at home.
Whether the NFL intended this outcome or not, look for more and more media in towns with teams that struggle to fill their stadiums to call upon the local football franchises to ensure that the new floor for ticket sales translates into televised contests.