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Politicians want relaxation of relaxed blackout rule

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The NFL recently responded to mounting political pressure regarding the outdated blackout rule by punting the hot potato to the teams.

On the surface, there was cause for celebration.  The league now allows teams to reduce their minimum percentage of non-premium tickets from 100 to 85 in order to allow games to be televised in the local market.

The fine print, in a word, sucks.  Each team must use the same percentage for every game, and the percentage must be selected for the full year by August 9.  And if the team does better than expected, the league’s share of each ticket goes from 34 cents on the dollar to 50.

As a result, various teams who would otherwise be tempted to consider the rule have said, “No thanks,” including the Chargers, Bills, Browns, Colts, and Jaguars.  Only the Buccaneers have to date embraced the new rule.

Now, some of the same politicians who pushed the league to relax the blackout rule are now seeking a relaxation of the relaxation.

Recently, Congressman Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) and Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to Commissioner Roger Goodell suggesting that each team receive two waivers per year, to account for games in which ticket sales exceed the selected minimum.

The league has yet to make any changes to the changed blackout rule, but Representative Higgins believe that change eventually will come.

“You look at the changing economic model, the blackout just doesn’t make sense,” Higgins said, via WIVB.  “I’ll tell you something, you mark my words, in five years there won’t be a blackout rule because the economic model is changing, and continues to change.”

Higgins may be right, but it will happen only if pressure continues to be applied to the league by politicians, fans, and the media.  The fact that the league relaxed the rule proves that the pressure, to date, is working.

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32 Responses to “Politicians want relaxation of relaxed blackout rule”
  1. rodgers419 says: Jul 23, 2012 11:26 PM

    There shouldn’t be blackouts of publicly funded stadiums. The people of X city paid for that stadium. You’re not going to let them watch the games played in it? Hilarious.

  2. skoobyfl says: Jul 23, 2012 11:41 PM

    Current admin wants to control everything, including the NFL.

  3. capitaloffense says: Jul 23, 2012 11:43 PM

    Thank you very much “politicians.” Now go actually work on the things that the your state put you in office for.

  4. bobnelsonjr says: Jul 23, 2012 11:45 PM

    No way!! Make those crappy franchises that can’t sell tickets get blacked out. People want the best games on television.

    Why should anyone miss a Packers game just because the local franchise is given special privileges because they can’t market their loser franchise?

    Let them move to Los Angeles.

  5. kenboslice says: Jul 23, 2012 11:47 PM

    Sooner or later the NFL will do away with blackouts…and change to a pay per view model. They’ve already started with Sunday ticket, redzone, and rewind. Its a business, not a right.

  6. granadafan says: Jul 24, 2012 12:08 AM

    The blackout policy by the NFL is absurd. There is no other business in the world that punishes its customers just because not enough of its overpriced product was purchased.

  7. marjax says: Jul 24, 2012 12:17 AM

    That’s very interesting… an Ohio Senator from Connecticut. Who knew?

  8. wolvareen says: Jul 24, 2012 12:17 AM

    Has anyone actually done the math on this? So max we’re talking is 15% of a 70k seat stadium or 10500 seats. Multiply that by the $0.16 difference in league share and you get $1680.00 over 8 games or $13440. That’s the max a team can lose assuming they take the 85% deal and then some how end up selling out every home game anyways.

    In regarding a multi-billion dollar business that seems like chump change to me. Every team who has a hard time selling tickets should be all over this to show their love to their poorer fans.

    I also think the ohio democrats have way bigger problems to deal with then saving their favorite football team a little under $4000.

  9. adam84a says: Jul 24, 2012 12:22 AM

    The extra 16% should go to a local charity instead of the league (although I previously read it went to the away team so I’m not entirely sure PFT has that correct in this piece). Anyway, doing this may actually help them get more fan involvement knowing that if the team actually gets a real sell-out this week, it will actually have a positive effect in the community, not just the owner’s pockets.

    That said, the state or federal government has no authority to make them do anything. You could make the argument that the local government would have the authority if the venue is funded by tax revenue and the local government structured the deal to give them this authority.

    I don’t agree with the common argument I hear others make that just because they play in a publicly funded venue they automatically have to televise the games. When U2 plays in Raymond James Stadium I don’t think anyone is demanding that they air the concert on television locally.

    Ironically, I’m a Bucs fan who was able to afford season tickets for this season so this really doesn’t impact me anymore but let’s just say I didn’t have a hard time watching the games in decent quality even if they were blacked out last season.

  10. sfsaintsfan says: Jul 24, 2012 12:30 AM

    “I’ll tell you something, you mark my words, in five years there won’t be a blackout rule because the economic model is changing, and continues to change.”

    ********************

    No joke, but it is going the other way, Pay per View or subscription service only is the way this is heading.

  11. bloggingpoodlewalker says: Jul 24, 2012 12:31 AM

    I go to all my local teams games, even the rippoff preseason, (of course we have no choice but to purchase them),…anyway, the real issue is all these so called fans, fat and lazy, cant get off their couches, unmotivated, as I said, lazy,…going to an NFL game rocks, from the pregame tailgating with hardcore football fans, to three hours awesome football, being there, part of it, and no matter how high def your flat screen is, Im not buying your excuse its better to watch it at home,..its not,..not even close,…you fat lazy losers cant even go to the bathroom without your remotes in your hand…I have spoken.

  12. ddarlak says: Jul 24, 2012 12:39 AM

    There shouldn’t be blackouts of publicly funded stadiums. The people of X city paid for that stadium. You’re not going to let them watch the games played in it? Hilarious.

    What’s hilarious is your stupidity. The money the public puts into the stadium is meant to keep a billion dollar business in their neighborhood – nothing else. Wanna see the game?, buy a ticket!

  13. discosucs2005 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:40 AM

    Zero reason to have a blackout in a publicly funded stadium. It really should be illegal. The community paid for all or part of it so they could watch their favorite team, and even though the franchise and NFL are businesses, they lost their “right” to take that team away when they took the communities money. Keep in mind when talking about rights that not everyone in a community cares about or wants to pay for a stadium.

    The NFL is the biggest con artist we all love. Whether it’s using college football as a minor league system for free, or preventing the same people that paid for a stadium from watching their favorite team, it’s a complete travesty.

  14. buzzardpointlookout says: Jul 24, 2012 12:41 AM

    “kenboslice says:
    Jul 23, 2012 11:47 PM
    Sooner or later the NFL will do away with blackouts…and change to a pay per view model. They’ve already started with Sunday ticket, redzone, and rewind. Its a business, not a right.”

    Neither is an anti-trust exemption. Broadcast networks are OURS, not the NFL’s. Publicly funded stadiums are the domain, at least in part, of the municipalities and taxpayers who paid the bills to build them.

    Blackouts are going bye-bye soon unless the NFL leaves free TV (which they will never do – waaaaaay too much $$ out there for a nominal cost of doing business).

  15. ddarlak says: Jul 24, 2012 12:42 AM

    Thank you very much “politicians.” Now go actually work on the things that the your state put you in office for.

    Like getting rid of toll booths illegally placed on the I-190…. Oh yea, he did that….

    You the man Brian Higgins, keep on em!

  16. teaspoon1731 says: Jul 24, 2012 12:48 AM

    I understand the blackout rules, but there’s a point where it’s kinda stupid. Have you been to a game in Buffalo in December? Especially when you realize it’s the Bills and they’re likely gonna be getting destroyed by half time. Fans still want to watch those games, cus they’re fans. But they won’t risk frostbite for it.

  17. profootballwalk says: Jul 24, 2012 12:49 AM

    Democrat politicians always want to spend someone else’s money.

  18. preventoffense says: Jul 24, 2012 12:54 AM

    Kenboslice – that is hilarious. The very lazy fat arses who are whining about blackouts because they blew to many dollars over the year on Cheetos and can’t afford a ticket will be freaking out over pay per view NFL as the only way to sit at home with their orange colored mustaches to watch the game. Too funny. Be careful what you wish for.

  19. i10east says: Jul 24, 2012 1:07 AM

    Why is the Jags (who sold out two years straight) tagged to this story, but the Bengals who got blacked out last year aren’t tagged? I don’t think that I’m being unreasonable asking that question….

  20. iamforliberty says: Jul 24, 2012 1:12 AM

    If the NFL wants blackouts then let them have none taxpayer stadiums. As a Libertarian I oppose taxpayer stadiums. It is not a proper function of government to provide entertainment centers, but like many things some people demand too much out of government.

  21. msclemons67 says: Jul 24, 2012 2:07 AM

    I’m not a fan of the blackout rules but really – we are still in a recession, we are involved in two overseas wars, the infrastructure is crumbling and the looming entitlement tidal wave is threatening to swamp the country.

    You’d think congressmen would have higher priorities than games being on television. Bread and circuses?

  22. gibbskins9 says: Jul 24, 2012 5:08 AM

    Country is going to hell in a hand basket and these morons have nothing better to do but focus on the NFL’s blackout policy!!!! Really

  23. kicksave1980 says: Jul 24, 2012 5:25 AM

    @bobnelsonjr – I don’t think you understand how the blackout rule works. it isn’t a matter of getting “better teams on tv”. When a game is blacked out in a local market, the network is completely blacked out of ALL NFL games during the time slot, at least in the local blackout range.

  24. jdsigruts says: Jul 24, 2012 5:45 AM

    bobnelsonjr , Dude the reason you must miss a Packers game is because you don’t live in Green bay May I suggest you either get NFL ticket or simply move there.

  25. griblets says: Jul 24, 2012 6:58 AM

    kenboslice is correct. The NFL is a business. It’s not our right to view NFL games. If we don’t like the way the NFL handles its business, it’s our choice to withhold our support. Their motivation as a business is to create the highest profit margin. If they make a bad business decision that affects their bottom line negatively, their policies will change. But that will only happen if we the fans blackout the NFL when they make bad policies.

    For congress to get involved is ludicrous. Hey, I’d like to drive a nicer car, but I don’t want congress to get involved to make luxury cars less expensive. If one supports such nonsense, then one supports congress sticking their nose in one’s business. I’d prefer my congressman and Senators focus on the problems of government and keep their noses out of private business.

  26. sportsmeccabi says: Jul 24, 2012 7:33 AM

    Democrats want easing of regulation?!?

  27. jimbo75025 says: Jul 24, 2012 8:15 AM

    kenboslice says:Jul 23, 2012 11:47 PM

    Sooner or later the NFL will do away with blackouts…and change to a pay per view model. They’ve already started with Sunday ticket, redzone, and rewind. Its a business, not a right.
    ____________

    Agreed that the NFL is a business and can do as they wish, however when their current business model depends on getting a new publicly funded stadium in each city every 20 years, pragmatism is key. Lessened fan base due to blackouts=less support for stadium bills. Quite frankly there are not that many US cities left with the potential to even be considered for an NFL franchise-LA of course, possibly San Antonio, Vegas but would never happen due to gambling inluence concerns-simply not much left out there

    If the NFL required each franchise to fully foot the bill for their stadiums then I would agree with you fully, but this is not the case.

  28. capitaloffense says: Jul 24, 2012 8:47 AM

    “Like getting rid of toll booths illegally placed on the I-190…. Oh yea, he did that….

    You the man Brian Higgins, keep on em!”

    Yes, toll booths are clearly a hot button issue.

  29. ddarlak says: Jul 24, 2012 9:01 AM

    I’d prefer my congressman and Senators focus on the problems of government and keep their noses out of private business.

    Being that the NFL is such a big business, local governments have to buckle and payup or risk losing a team. Right or wrong, it is what it is. Since we have invested dollars in them, who then would be our representative? Brian Higgins is a local State senator doing exactly what I would want him to do.

    The NFL has a right to blackout their games, and I think I have just as much right to ask my local state senator to try and peel away at their power and give us 2 games so that I don’t have to pony up my hard earned CA$H to see them when it’s fricking 8 degress out AND they haven’t made the playoffs in 12 cold years AND their record is 3-9…

  30. ddarlak says: Jul 24, 2012 9:04 AM

    Yes, toll booths are clearly a hot button issue.

    Since they were supposed to be taken down about 30 years before they finally were, yes i’d say that was an issue, for I don’t know….maybe 30 years…

    He got it done when so many others didn’t even try.

  31. mediasloppy says: Jul 24, 2012 1:06 PM

    People are so brainwashed when it is CLEAR football is becoming the land of the 1% and they take the side of Billionaires who own the teams tax dollars have paid for in several different ways. I don’t begrudge the billionaires. I’m fine with tax money funding Stadiums, because States do make money from sports.

    I think black-outs are a product of over pricing. Years ago I went to at least one game a year and loved it greatly, but now it’s just crazy money to see a game and the Stadium I go to sucks. When a new one is built I’ll go even if the price is nuts though.

    I will never pay to see a game on my TV. If it ever came to that, football will be over. You can only bite the hand that feeds to a certain percent.

  32. jupitersteel says: Jul 24, 2012 5:13 PM

    I still think LA is the answer to these franchises. Does anyone remember why the LA teams left? Lousy attendance.

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