When the new rule allowing teams to choose a lower threshold of non-premium seats they needed to sell to avoid a blackout came up for a vote, the Bengals voted against it.
So it’s not much of a surprise to learn that that the team won’t be taking advantage of the new rule, which allows teams to designate a figure as low as 85 percent of capacity. Bengals owner Mike Brown made the announcement on Tuesday, leaving the Buccaneers as the only team that has decided to take advantage of the rule.
“We’re going to stick with the old rule. What we want to see are sold out houses and we want the stadium full with 65,000-plus people. We don’t want to get to just 85 percent or 55,000,” Brown said, via Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer. “If you think back when they passed the sales tax to finance the stadiums they did it so people could come downtown to the stadiums and watch games. They didn’t do it so people could sit at home and watch games on television. They could have done that without a new stadium. So I think it is best for us and when I look around the league I can see most teams staying with the old rule.”
The Bengals have sold out just two of their last 10 regular-season games at Paul Brown Stadium, leaving them as one of the four teams in the NFL to get blacked out last season. The team lowered some ticket prices during the offseason and recently announced that they have sold out single-game tickets for two of the games on the home slate.
Brown’s decision was likely influenced by the fact that he’d have to pay 16 more cents per ticket to the visiting team for any seat sold above the threshold. The team stood to lose revenue on those dates and obviously chose to roll the dice that they’d be able to move seats for the other six games at their home field.