When the NFL relaxed its policy regarding the minimum ticket sales needed to allow games to be televised in the home team’s local market, the initial focus fell on Florida’s Bermuda Triangle of blackouts, from Jacksonville to Miami back to Tampa.
But the Jags surprisingly opted, unlike the Bucs and Dolphins, not to take advantage of the new twist that allows teams to drop their threshold from 100 percent down to 85.
Yes, the Jaguars haven’t had any blackouts since 2009. But that’s because owner Wayne Weaver periodically (or more often) was buying up the unsold non-premium tickets at 34 cents on the dollar.
The string of Jags home games televised in Jacksonville continues tonight, with the first preseason game played under owner Shahid Khan, against the Super Bowl champion Giants.
There’s been no public announcement one way or the other, which is a little odd. Selling out EverBank Field for a meaningless game should be cause for celebration — or at a minimum some restrained crowing.
In fact, there’s no mention of it anywhere on the Internet. We know that the game won’t be blacked out locally only because I interrupted Mike Dempsey of 1010XL in Jacksonville during a Thursday appearance on his radio show and asked him.
As a result, there will be some suspicion that Khan wrote a check for the unsold seats at 34 cents on the dollar in order to ensure that the first non-game game of his tenure would be televised in Jacksonville.
It’ll definitely become a bigger issue once the regular season begins, especially since the Jags are the only team in Florida that opted to stick with the 100-percent minimum.