League once again will partially waive blackout rule

Last year, with the threat of a high number of lockouts looming, the NFL modified its blackout policy.  All blacked out games were available in the local markets on a tape-delayed basis, via NFL.com.

Starting at midnight, the blacked out games were available for 72 hours, with the exception of the three-or-so hours of Monday Night Football.

NFL spokesman Dan Masonson tells us that the league will apply the same approach in 2010.  Thus, if our friends in Tampa can find a way to avoid all media for 11 hours after kickoff of the Bucs’ home game against the Browns, the Week One contest can be viewed on NFL.com as if from scratch. 

We’ve not yet confirmed that the league will again make look-ins to the blacked-out games available via RedZone, but we’d be surprised if the rule changes.  The logistics on dropping the curtain temporarily as to blacked out games in only the local market of the home team seems to be much more trouble than it’s worth.

UPDATE:  It’s our understanding that, indeed, the blacked-out games will be included in the RedZone transmissions to the affected markets.

27 responses to “League once again will partially waive blackout rule

  1. The NFL does a lot of things right in promoting it’s brand and making sure it’s king of the sports and entertainment world.
    Which is why the Blackout Rule just blows my mind. We need to sell some tickets..I know we WON’T show the game on TV. huh? If I’m a fan of a bad team, let’s make it easier for me to ignore the product…I’ll eventually find something else to occupy my time.

  2. “I’m one of those coaches that has enough stroke in the league that the reason the owners hire me is they can’t coach the team,” Williams said.
    Just read this quote from saints def. coord. Gregg Williams and had to laugh. He talks tough but looks rather “femme” and got wondering how often he has to “stroke” Sean Payton. Williams sees all the pub that loudmouth Rex Ryan gets by trash talkin’ and now Williams is gonna see if he can make a name for himself doin’ the same…..what a loser.

  3. A much better rule would be if a team has three or more blackouts in a single year, then the team is required to relocate once the season ends. This would provide an incentive for fans to support their team and if they were unwilling, then deserving fans in another city could finally get a team.

  4. im 25 years old, i can barely remember the last time a patriots game wasnt filled to capacity and stuffed with standing room watchers. they say it was back when i was six or so. i do remember the old foxboro stadium pretty well since i went there for the first 1 years of my life. if that place could sell out with some pretty bad teams most years then how the hell do places like jacksonville and tamp have problems? beautiful weather and many year round football fans. this is baseball territory and the season ticket waiting list is still years and years long. it has been since 6 years before the first super bowl.

  5. Why not just lift the blackout rule altogether? They would still get TV ad revenue. If there are a bunch of empty seats, that would imply that the fans in attendence are the hard core fans (read: fans with extra money) that would still be in attendance even if the game is televised…no lost revenue. The only thing they are doing by instituting the blackouts is hurting the potential fan base. If NFL management believes there are fans that will spend a lot of money to go to the game just because it is not on TV, they need to be part of the random drug testing program along with the players.

  6. @bobinpuertorico, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I live in Tampa and have been a Bucs fan since 1990 when my dad took me to my first game. With the exception of the 6 years I spent in the Army I have been to every home game since 1997. I want to support my team. Once I recognized after the Glazers bought Man. United. that the Bucs were no longer priority one.
    The only way for fans to actually get the attention of ownership is to not show up.
    When the goal of the franchise was to win RJS sold out for 10 years.

  7. MrHumble: that has absolutely NOTHING to do with this article, dumbass. Let me guess…Vikings fan?
    Geez, you people are idiots.

  8. The NFL Blackout rule may be the dumbest rule in professional sports. How many people do you think there are in these markets who are sitting around on Thursday saying, “if the game is blacked out, then I’ll buy tickets and go to the game.” The attitude is more like, “if the Bucs aren’t on TV, then I’ll go to the beach.” These are the people who the NFL should be targeting by televising these games and selling its product. You can’t BECOME a fan of something you never see.
    Side Note: The Bucs are the only NFL team with a game blacked out this weekend. Why is there no LA Bucs talk in the national media? I will never understand why the Jags were made the whipping boy for every team with ticket troubles. I don’t mean to point any fingers (PFT/Florio), but I doubt I will see three stories a week about how Tampa is not viable and the NFL doesn’t want a franchise in a market that can’t sell tickets, and “someone in LA mentioned Tampa in a bar,” etc… I just am confused about why all of that spin is reserved for Jacksonville (a city that has responded quite well from a ticket-sales perspective considering the team went 5-11 last year and didn’t draft the “one-year ticket selling machine”). The people in that city love the Jags and don’t deserve to take the brunt of the negative press when the negative economic effect has been felt – and seen – across the NFL.
    -Doug (Team Boselli)

  9. I just don’t get this rule. Maybe back in the 50s it made sense. Not know. TV money supports the whole league. They don’t actually need ticket sales that much.

  10. The only way for fans to actually get the attention of ownership is to not show up.
    Right, Calling sports radio won’t make a difference. Writing letters won’t make a difference. The only thing that will work is to quit going, quit buying gear, and quit supporting advertisers.
    You wouldn’t support any other business that continiously produced a shitty product. Why should NFL teams be any different?
    Part of being a fan, is also demanding that your team compete.

  11. There are so many other things to do here in Tampa Bay that baseball and football are not a priority. I have been a Bucs and Rays fan since day one for both . But right now it is hard to find the extra cash to watch them live. But I do have high DEF TV and watch them both when I can. I also see all the other markets out there struggling to fill there stadiums. Watched a Yankees game in NY in a brand new stadium that was only half filled the other day. So you all need to lay off the Bay area !! We are doing what we can ! And neither team is going anywhere !!!

  12. the biggest problem is that many nfl team put too much emphasis on season tickets. they need to decrease the number of season ticket holders and increase the available single game tickets. the jets play in a huge market so they try to make every single seat a season ticket holder and get that extra psl money. so now they dont sell out every game. they arent getting any new fans to the game and then those people dont have interest in the team. just because you cant get 50,000 season ticket holders doesnt mean you still cant sell out.

  13. @dennis Jacksonville doesn’t normally have ticket problems. One of the issues is the stadium is several thousand seats to large for the market.
    The average attendance in Jacksonville would sell out about 13-15 stadiums in the NFL, and the Jags play in the smallest market.
    The Jaguars have the first 5 games already over the blackout limit, lets see how many other teams have blackouts this year.
    I know the Bucs will probably only have one not blacked out.
    The blackout rules work, last year the ownership of the Jaguars stopped buying tickets or getting sponsors to buy them and all but one games were blacked out.
    This offseason the Jaguars sold more season tickets than any other team in the league. The fans need to know that to see the game you need to support the team by buying tickets.

  14. This is just one more reason that the NFL has too many teams. They need to drop one team from each conference (i.e. TB and JAX). What a coincidence, both teams are from Florida. I guess old people don’t like going to NFL games. Who woulda thunk it.

  15. Dollar Bill Wirtz kept the Blackhawks off television for fear it would hurt his gate. Last year, his son Rocky televised every Hawks regular season and playoff game and look at the terrible results…a Stanley cup!

  16. If the owners of this league can’t solve their labor problem and kill the 2011 season they will have plenty of blackouts to deal with. Baseball lost me for decades when they shut down, and football will suffer the same apathy from it’s fans

  17. If the Green Bay model of ownership were allowed, most of the NFL’s problems would probably be resolved nicely. There would be downward pressure on ticket and concession pricing, the new stadium extortion plot(s) would evaporate, and interest would probably increase since fans could actually have some influence over the decisions being made.

  18. Blackouts are the leagues problem, not the fans’ problem. You *can* fill the stadium if that’s really your goal. As pointed out above, not showing the game in the local market will decrease, not increase, interest. Not to mention kicking your local broadcast partner in the sensitive wallet region.
    Stupid rule.

  19. My issue is the mile radius they use…Ford Field is 58 miles from the Fox station in Flint….and i’m another 62 miles from Flint, yet it is still blacked out for me even though i’m double the miles away…pfffffffft.
    I hate CBS, but at least we get the option of either the Saginaw or Cadillac station.

  20. The NFL television black out policy dates back to 1973, PRIOR TO 1973 ALL HOME GAMES WERE BLACKED OUT REGARDLESS OF WHETHER IT WAS SOLD OUT OR NOT. The prior to 1973 policy applied to all games, regular season, playoffs and even the Superbowl (so prior to 1973 the host city could not watch the Superbowl on TV) – SB VII was the first to be aired locally in the host city.
    The pre-1973 black out policy was legislated out of existence by congress and the new 72-hour sell-out policy was implemented. This congressional act showed appropriate adaptation in accordance with the evolution of television, technical advance and the progression of the NFL. The television airwaves that most NFL games are broadcast on CBS, NBC and FOX are defined as terrestrial and therefore are considered free – thus you can pull in the stations with a local antenna and not need to pay any subscription (cable, Verizon or satellite) fees to be able to watch this programming. The games televised on ESPN and NFL are considered cable programming and could be viewed as pay-per-view events, accept these games are locally simulcasted by the appropriate major network (FOX-NFC games/CBS-AFC games) – essentially making them part of the free airwaves.
    The NFL sells collectively sells their television rights for a combined $20.2 Billion dollars – that was not a typo the amount paid by each network is CBS $3.7 Billion, NBC $3.6 Billion, Fox $4.3 Billion and ESPN $8.8 Billion for a combined (worth repeating in my opinion) $20.2 Billion. Additionally the NFL enjoys a Congressional anti-trust exemption, this exemption give the league a major bargaining advantage as the 32 teams are allowed to negotiate collectively (basically functioning as a monopoly) – through this exemption the NFL implores a huge negotiating leverage when it comes to contracting out television rights.
    As most NFL games are broadcast over what are considered free airwaves and enjoys an unusual and unnecessary benefit by way of the Congressional anti-trust exemption; congress should step in and legislate out the black out rule all together. There is clearly precedent for this type of action and it would appear that as the times have change, television view and the NFL revenue mechanisms have evolved, that this would again be an appropriate step. I don’t have the figures, as this data would currently be considered agent history, but if I were to tender a guess, I would think that in 1973, when the current black out rules were implemented, the NFL revenue model was substantially different and a much larger percentage of revenue was generated by gate fees, verses television right, paraphernalia, etc. – so it would seem that abolishing all black out rules would be appropriate.
    For those who take the time to read this post and are in agreement – it is your congress representatives that you need to petition about this issue – not the NFL.

  21. How about this instead — instead of completely blacking out a game in the local market, if it is not sold out 72 hours prior, then put it on pay-per-view. Then, the team would get say 75% and the rest goes to the station broadcasting and the cable/satellite provider or internet site offering it.

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