In the end, the buzz from Hard Knocks and the addition of Ryan Tannehill and the adoption of a more open approach to the media didn’t do enough to prompt the Dolphins to believe that they’ll come dramatically closer to selling all non-premium tickets to their home games.
And so the Dolphins will take full advantage of the league’s new blackout rule, dropping the minimum percentage of non-premium ticket sales from 100 to 85.
“We are reducing our manifested capacity by 15%, changing the number of seats we need to sell in the lower and upper bowls from 60,500 to 51,128 to take advantage of the new NFL policy,” Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said in an email to PFT.
“As you know, over the last three years we have always placed a priority on keeping our games on local television. We have worked hard to do so, feeling it is important for as many of our fans as possible to see our games, either in person or on television. We have one of the largest seating capacities in the NFL and know there is still work to be done in order to get every home game on local TV. However, this will help us in our efforts to achieve that goal.
“We are not taking these seats out of our sales manifest. We will still sell tickets for all the seats in the entire stadium and are still focused on selling out as many games as possible. We are trending ahead of our season ticket pace from a year ago (42,584), and with over 8,000 new season tickets sold we are on pace to set a team record for most new season tickets. Nevertheless, we feel this is a prudent business decision which will benefit our fans.”
The new blackout rule requires teams to make a decision before the season as to the percentage that will apply to all games. And if the team guesses too low and overshoots the minimum, the team must give to the league’s visiting-team pool an extra 16 percent of the gross revenues of all tickets sold above the chosen threshold.
For the Dolphins, this means that for any tickets sold beyond the new minimum of 51,128, the team will be required to give up 50 percent of the excess, instead of the usual 34 percent.
All things considered, that would be a good problem to have.