Raheem Morris wants NFL to change blackout policy

The Bucs were the only NFL home team in Week One to play in a stadium where the non-premium seats had not been sold out.  And so the game was not televised locally.

Coach Raheem Morris thinks that the policy compelling a blackout under those circumstances should change.

“The economy right now is rough,” Morris said earlier this week on WDAE radio in Tampa, via JoeBucsFan.com.  “We
understand that.  And I’m very sensitive to that.  I actually was in a
mall this week, and ran across a young man in the mall in the Apple
store and gave him and his family four tickets to the game.  And I was fired up about that and received a beautiful e-mail
today from their family.  And, you know, I wish I could do more.  I wish I
could buy all the tickets myself.  But I can’t do that yet.

“I don’t think it’s a lack of fan support,” Morris said.  “You would like the NFL to change the [blackout] rule with the economy
with what we got going on right now.”

Though Morris may not be able to buy all the tickets himself, the reality is that, last year, the Bucs paid 34 cents on the dollar as to any non-premium tickets, ensuring a string of “sellouts”.  And it appears that the Rams did the same thing on Sunday.  And it’s likely that the same tactic has been used in the past — and will be used in the future — by other teams to ensure that the three-hour infomercial will air in the home market.

But the league won’t be changing the blackout rule, regardless of whether slow sales result from a bad economy or a bad team or a kick-ass HD/3D TV that was just installed in the man cave.  Indeed, as the home-viewing experience improves, the league will be even more vigilant regarding the blackout rule, since more and more fans will realize it’s cheaper — and in many respects better — to stay home.

79 responses to “Raheem Morris wants NFL to change blackout policy

  1. Here’s a better idea: lower ticket prices. Sell more seats. Avoid blackouts. Profit.
    Simple supply and demand here, and it may even be profitable for the team.

  2. Funny that bad football teams always blame a lack of attendance on the economy and don’t take any responsibility for their complete lack of competence. Enjoy that against Cleveland, Raheem. You’ll only get one more ‘W’ the rest of the year if you’re lucky.

  3. “ran across a young man in the mall in the Apple store and gave him and his family four tickets to the game.”
    Really Raheem? if the kid and his family were shopping in the Apple Store they can’t be all that bad off. Love the products but they are EXPENSIVE!
    Win more games Raheem, and they will come.

  4. 100% agree with Radio.
    The economy sucks and my pay has been cut, why would i pay $40 for parking at the local stadium on top of the $150 ticket and $9 beers? I’ll stay at home for free & in high definition, thank you, where a sixer costs less than a single beer at the stadium.

  5. Maybe the NFL should look at ticket prices and realize that they are slowly outpricing what your average fan can afford. To get a PSL and buy season tickets requires a lot of cash your average fan doesn’t have.
    And yes, while it’s great to go to a game it’s also a lot easier/cheaper to sit at home on any given sunday.
    I mean if the stadiums aren’t selling out it must mean the product is overpriced, not that there isn’t a demand for it.

  6. The Kansas City Chiefs have been buying up unused tickets for years. It has been widely talked about (via sports talk radio) and known in KC for quite some time that this occurs. Last year when the Chiefs streak of “sold out” games ended, resulting in our first blackout in 18 years, the media was all over Clark Hunt/The Chiefs for not buying up the unused tickets so they game could be televised locally.

  7. It’s not better to stay home when the local team you want to watch isn’t on TV because you don’t want to go to the game.
    The whole point of this rule the way I see it is: If you aren’t doing enough to find 60,000 people to came watch it in person, you’re not doing your part in selling the NFL brand.

  8. So why don’t some of these teams just reduce the number of seats by having a few thousand removed? That way they wouldn’t have to pay the 34 cents per seat.

  9. Blackouts work, look at Jacksonville. The team stopped paying for seats last year and had all but one game last year blacked out and now they are on track to have the first 5 home games shown on tv.
    Local fans should go to games if they can afford it, nothing beats the gameday experience of live NFL football.

  10. The NFL blackout rule is one of the dumbest policies out there. How is a bad team supposed to build a fan following when their fans cant even watch the game? If the games are never shown in places like Jacksonville or Tampa, how does that create buzz around the team. Also in tough times some people just cant afford to waste $300 to go to an NFL game. When times are bad in life sometimes the only thing you have is sports to get away. They shouldnt take that away from the fans just because they cant shell out for $10 beers at the game.

  11. Or, the team could stop whining about not being able to sell seats to watch an inferior product, and simply lower the prices. Pretty easy to do, and a lot of businesses cut prices in a bad economy. Whiners with bad products get what they deserve.

  12. He has a point. It’s like a tax on the poor. It’s like the NFL saying “If you are in the higher income bracket who should/would normally be able to buy the expensive seats, or a you are a corporation, and you elect not to buy the tickets, it’s ok — we’ll still televise. But if you’re a poor working hump who would/could normally only buy the cheap seats — you are REQUIRED to purchase those entire sections or we’ll black out.” @#$%(^king commie.

  13. The irony is that its the most fun to watch a game at home when the teams are playing to a packed stadium, the crowd is amped up and live and the energy is off the charts. Hard to get that atmosphere on TV when everyone is at home watching on TV.

  14. Teams with a problem selling the home games should change their parking lot rules.
    The Bills have sucked for 10 years and still sell out. The reason for this is because the Bills have arguably the best tailgating experience.

  15. And then the internet will crush the NFL’s attempt to strong arm the consumer.
    I watch any game I want already, just wait another 5 years.

  16. It looks extremely likely that the Chargers game will be blacked out. Still 10K tickets remaining, supposedly impossible to sell that many by Thursday.
    I hate the NFL right now. Can’t afford $400 to go to the game. Yet I’m being punished because the Chargers can’t fill their dinosaur of a stadium.
    I work hard all day and night and one of my few pleasures is watching the Chargers play. Now I’m going to be deprived of that.
    Hate the NFL, their policies stink. I’ve decided I’m not buying any NFL products ever again until they change this blackout rule.

  17. The experience at home is nothing like live football. I was at Soldier Field on Sunday for the “Windy City Screwjob,” and would not have wanted to be anyplace else. Except for the $8 beers, everything else about the live experience is better than at home.

  18. Wow, a blackout-in-Florida story and the words “Jacksonville”, “Jaguars” and “Tebow” weren’t part of it.

  19. Put product on the field that people will want to pay to see. $100.00 per ticket plus the cost of parking, concessions, etc. is pretty excessive for a shitty product.
    Bottom Line, Buc’s Suck = Shitty attendance.

  20. “I wish I could buy all the tickets myself. But I can’t do that yet.”
    Better start playing PowerBall!
    As soon as Manchester United or one of their empty strip malls needs another infusion of cash the Glazers will conclude that they’re paying you too much as it is and off comes your head!
    (Chip Carter, Fox 13 Sports Director and Anchor, Tampa, Florida, any day now…)
    “The Bucs just announced they have fired Head Coach Raheem Morris! My sources tell me the team will promote from within as they did with Morris! I’ll let you know who it will be my next segment!”
    (Next segment)
    “The Bucs have just announced that the new Head Coach will be Mike Myrick ! Myrick is currently the teams Assistant Equipment Manager!”

  21. its not just the ticket prices. In New England you have to pay 50$ just to park your car, and Im sure its like that in other places too. The entire cost of going to a game is nuts, probably why Ive only gone to 4 in my 31 years.

  22. brownsfn19 says:
    September 15, 2010 12:49 PM
    Why don’t you go and buy the tickets then RAHEEM?????
    i heard browns fans were stupid and u just proved it, if you read the article u would see he says he would if he could but he can’t yet.

  23. It never made sense to me to black out games under any circumstances. Seeing a game on tv is what makes fans of all the little kiddos! Teams that can’t sell out the stadium regularly ironically will be less likely to sell out in the future because their future fan base will never fall in love with them because they don’t see them on tv.
    This is a stupid, counter-productive rule.

  24. Again….sell the tix for .40-.50 on the dollar at will call. And don’t tell me TV needs more notice, I guarantee the tix sell game day at that price…1 per customer so the scalpers don’t buy them up an turn them for .60-.70 onthe dollar.

  25. The NFL is so hypocritcal. The Jags had a horrible ticket selling season last year and the economy was the MAIN factor. 17,000 season ticket holders don’t just cancel in one off season for any other reason. Granted some probably weren’t excited about the teams direction, but not 17K. Oakland had 7 blackouts, Lions had 4, Rams 3, and Chiefs 1, but you would have never known about any other team besides the Jaguars b/c that’s how much ESPN, NFL Network, Pro Football Talk and every other talking head out there hates this team.
    Now that the Jaguars have and are continuing to sell tickets again after ONE bad season all of a sudden everyone wants to say it’s the economy and not a bad fan base is the reason for blackouts. Jaguars have and always have had a GREAT fan base, but b/c of one bad season all you heard last year was the opposite. You can’t have an opinion on something what you have ZERO facts. If all of these networks stoppped worrying about who Tony Romo dates, who Tom Brady is marrying or if Brett Farve is coming back then maybe they can do their reporting correctly for a change.

  26. The NFL is so cocky to think they can scare people into going to games with this black out crap. They would rather limit additional revenue as a “punishment” for not buying the precious over priced tickets.

  27. I honestly don’t think the blackout rule motivates people to go see the game in person. If you were to poll the 41K people who showed up at the RayJay Sunday, I bet most of the people went because they wanted to see the Bucs live, and very few went because they “couldn’t see them at home”.
    Seriously, who the hell says, “Dammit, my favorite team isn’t on; let me take my family and spend $200 instead”? You have to want to go see live football to shell out the cash. The blackout rule is as useless as it is dumb.

  28. I wonder if Mushmouth Morris chest bumped the kid and the family after handing out the tickets. Besides murdering the English language and being a horrible football coach, it is the only thing he is good at.
    Maybe a Chest Bump for every ticket purchased would be a good marketing campaign?
    Go for it MushMouth!

  29. nope you are all wrong….what the nfl needs to figure out is how they can do 3d football live, and not on the tube. Then instead of selling peanuts and popcorn, they can provide bongs, and shrooms.

  30. I remember going to candlestick(raider/49’er game)park and pay $50 to park on a muddy dirt. Conssesion is way overprice and they won’t even allow you to bring water so that they can charge u $3 a bottle.What a freakin rip off!!

  31. a) You can actually still get every game as a live broadcast right over the Internet, in relatively high quality.
    b) As of July 2010, the unemployment rate in San Diego was 10.8%, in Tampa Bay it was 12.3%. NY, 9.1%. Tampa is not full of high-rollers by any stretch, so “the economy is bad” is not a stretch nor BS
    c) Significant incentives and discounts have been given to boost sales. In fact, they worked on me: No PSL BS (just buy the tickets), any seat youth ticket (for the season) is $25 (mine is $85 in the upper deck, West side, near 50-yard line) and I get to buy the package in 5 monthly installments, no finance charges. Parking is $20 per game, prepaid, right across the street from the stadium. Soda is $6.50, refills are free. Total cost per game for us? About $160. Out of range for some, but not unreasonable.
    d) There’s no reason for the NFL to NOT have a PPV rule in place rather than a BLACKOUT rule. In my same situation (ie, next year, my son is 17 and the seats will be $85 each) some folks can’t afford the tickets. How about $50 per game for PPV access as a compromise? I had multiple text messages asking me if I had the URL for watching games online for last week’s game.
    e) The Tampa Bay Rays and the NY Yankees are swapping back and forth, game-by-game the title of “most wins in baseball” RIGHT NOW. Some folks are dedicating/reserving their “sports recreation” budget for postseason baseball. Hell, the AL East could very well send the Yankees, Rays and Red Sox ALL to the postseason.

  32. the league will be even more vigilant regarding the blackout rule, since more and more fans will realize it’s cheaper — and in many respects better — to stay home.
    Mike, I defend your RIGHT to say what you want – this is America after all – but I cannot support the WISDOM of what you say.
    WTF? Please take 10-15 more words and EXPLAIN to us less-smarter-then-you folks what in the hell you are talking about. That sentence makes absolutely no sense.

  33. Have any of you been to a one o’clock game in Tampa in late September … 1 billion degrees (temperature not diplomas :))
    Of course it doesn’t sell out. People don’t want skin cancer.

  34. @Gruber74
    Why so bitter? How has Morris “murdered the English language?”
    Its a nice little item about how a coach interacts with fans and speaks–pretty intelligently– about the state of the economy as it pertains to sports fans.
    Yet you see this as a means of bashing the guy and his speech.
    I wonder what your REAL issue is.

  35. Geez, fans and non-fans alike pay for those Sunday palaces where those televised dramas are blacked out, maybe the public ought to ban the teams from playing there when games are not televised. Blackouts, lockouts, ever soaring prices and wages, when will the fans fight back? We hold the keys and the wallets, when are we gonna start slapping the hands that are constantly reaching for them?

  36. SlowJoe got it right – it’s two separate decisions. The NFL has to sell the live experience, and price it to the market. Blackouts do not drive people to the stadium, but rack up enough and you will drive people away from the game.
    Absolutely hate that the blackout rule is considered a given – even PFT treats it like it’s gospel. It’s not, it’s just another poorly thought out idea from the league – right up there with banning super bowl (oops I mean “big game”) parties – that the league can and should give up on.

  37. Lower ticket prices. I’ll pay $50 to $100 for a ticket, but I’m not going to pay $250 to sit in the nose bleed section at the Death Star in Dallas.

  38. The blackout rule HAS to change. It only serves to weaken/kill the local economy. How are sports bars supposed to survive when the games aren’t televised? These are severely outdated rules and with the way this country is now, we shouldn’t be conducting business to hurt and depress people even further.

  39. It’s not better to go see the games in person. In addition to the ridiculously overpriced parking, concessions and admission, you have to deal with the jerks who pound a case of Bud Light at a tailgate before coming into the stadium.
    I see no rational reason to spend $200 on an NFL game at a stadium shared with scores of rude loudmouth drunks.

  40. Actually going to a game in person is very 20th century. The economy and a crappy team hurts, but it’s a new era and the NFL doesn’t quite understand that yet.
    Big HD TV’s have changed everything.

  41. Solution: Low-priced pay-per-view for blacked out games
    $9.99 to watch the Bucs game live on PPV, I would pay that in a heartbeat.

  42. Cornerdenizen says:
    Why so bitter? How has Morris “murdered the English language?”
    Let me guess: Never watched/heard one of Morris’s press conferences/interviews, have ya?

  43. The blackout rule HAS to change. It only serves to weaken/kill the local economy. How are sports bars supposed to survive when the games aren’t televised? These are severely outdated rules and with the way this country is now, we shouldn’t be conducting business to hurt and depress people even further.

  44. “I actually was in a mall this week, and ran across a young man in the mall in the Apple store and gave him and his family four tickets to the game.”
    That was a mistake. Anyone in an Apple store clearly has enough money to afford football tickets.
    You guys can blame the team all you want for not filling seats, but the fact remains that blackouts aren’t going to help attendance, and they’re certainly not going to encourage fans to support a team that sucks. You guys might not see a problem with this, but in my opinion, the parity that the NFL creates is one of the best things about the sport, and blackouts work directly against it. It’s a dumb idea and punishes fans that can’t go or might actually want to enjoy their team from the comfort of their own home.
    “Blackouts do not drive people to the stadium, but rack up enough and you will drive people away from the game.Blackouts do not drive people to the stadium, but rack up enough and you will drive people away from the game.”
    Exactly, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  45. The local sports bar: go with a group of friends. They have Game Day drink specials, free halftime buffet, and 40-something TVs running NFL Sunday Ticket so you can catch plays from other games when your team is playing. ALL the games are on!
    Nothing like rubbing elbows with fans wearing “the other team’s jersey”, yet they probably live within miles of your home.
    At the end of the day, the DD stays sober to drive everyone home.
    Total cost of day = Usually under $50.
    While I don’t do that every Sunday, it’s my plan at least 6 times a season. I would be spending the amount I spent for 6 visits to the sports bar on just one game at the stadium. Sorry, but it’s a no-brainer for me.

  46. Satan567, There are lots of teams struggling to sell tickets that aren’t losing teams. Vikings, Cardinals, Jets, Bengals were all playoff teams last year that struggled to sell out games. Look at the unemployment rate in Ohio and tell me people arn’t struggling, open a F-ing newspaper and tell me the whole US economy is not struggling. Read a F-ing book and get back on the short bus.

  47. It is so hypocritical that the Jaguars have one bad year of selling tickets, and they are the poster children of bad fans, yet for the Bucs, Chargers, and Bengals don’t sell tickets, it is the bad economy.
    Now come to find out that if the owners of a handful of teams weren’t buying their own tickets last year at $.34 on the dollar, there would have been 3x as many blackouts, and some teams (like the Chargers and Bucs) would have had every game blacked out.
    Yet the media will continue to beat the hell out of Jacksonville because of people like Florio not knowing his a-hole from a hole in the ground.
    This is a little bit of justice for Jacksonville!

  48. Man, I can’t believe how much some of you pay to see crappy teams. I think my ticket to Sunday’s Packer game is $80 (face value) which serves as further proof to me that the Pack should increase their ticket prices by another $30-40. I know that may be blasphemy, but we will pay those higher prices (and ticket prices were increased this year for the first time in several years).
    And an $80 ticket is still a good seat since there really isn’t a bad seat in Lambeau.

  49. i have some bill veckish ideas here that maybe everyone wins.
    a) place the black out rule upon season ticket availability. If a team can’t sell all the season tickets, then that team runs the risk of blackouts.
    b) for non premium season ticket holders, nfl teams should in addition to the tickets provide vouchers for DISCOUNTED PARKING and a free meal voucher. Like a free hotdog and soda per game per ticket or something like that.
    c) If the week of the game, all premium seats aren’t sold out, reduce the price of those seats to make them the price of a regular seat of some sort, but give them wrist bands that would deny the person the perks of the seats being “premium” and force those perks to be paid for a la carte.
    d) reduce the cost of non alcoholic concessions. really? 4 bucks for a dawg? when i go to a cubs baseball game, i eat at taco bell across the street for less than 10 bucks

  50. It’s simple, Bucs owners put more resources into team, team wins, stadium fills up again. Happened for 11 years, will happen again when the owners show THEY care if their team wins.

  51. Take a lesson from the Vikings and lean on the local corporations to buy the tickets. Just ask 3 M and General Mills how many times the Viking’s front office called with an offer they couldn’t refuse?
    Los Angeles has no such problems and awaits the Vikings in 2012.

  52. Hey NFL owners – $10-$15 is more than $0 for an unsold seat.
    I remember back in the day the Pittsburgh Penguins would sell any remaining tickets on game day tickets to college students for $10 or $15 bucks.
    Just a thought, perhaps a dumb one, but a thought nonetheless.
    PFT Floriomaniac

  53. Florio makes excuses for the Bucs blackouts (economy, NFL package) but last year when the Jags had blackouts he called out the city and fans. Even suggested they would move to LA ( a city with a long standing tradition of not supporting the NFL. LA has lost 3 NFL teams).
    You can’t have it both ways Florio. Last year it was 90% about the economy. I know because I was one of the 17k that did not renew for that fact. I also know several other ticket holders that gave them up for the same reason. I didn’t buy them this year as well but if things keep going like they are currently I will be back in the stands next season along with a couple of friends.
    The Jags are here to stay Florio and the rest of you national blowhards so get use to it.
    P.S. Tampa and Miami are the worst pro sports cities in Florida. Tampa has one of the Best MLB teams and can’t sell out. Has Miami ever sold out any pro sports games not named the Heat?
    Jax could put more fans in the seats for the Rays or Marlins.

  54. I love Raheem Morris for having a big heart, but he fails to see the big problem. These tickets are over priced considering we are in a recession.
    $30 to park the car, $10 for a beer and $8 for a food item equals me sitting home on the couch with my $7 six pack and my $12 pie of pizza. Oh and i dont need to wait on line to use the bathroom

  55. The team sucks. The family in the Apple Store can afford the tickets, but would rather spend their money on tech toys. Poor argument Raheem.

  56. Chiefs
    All teams that have sucked for the past few years for the majority of the years but havent had ANY blackouts.
    Yet NONE have had Super Bowl Champions either…..TB is such a fairweather town for sports.
    LOOK AT THE RAYS…..1st place w/best rec. in MLB and they got 27k the other night vs the YANKEES???!?!?!?! Their average attendance is horrible.

  57. Get some owners who invest in a real sport, not that other brand of football. Too bad all the profits for everything the Glazers own (malls and the Bucs) all go to the other side of the Atlantic.

  58. tell the cheap ass owners to pay the .34 cents on the dollar if they want it televised. they make that money back on beer sales alone. the thing is, the tv deals don’t give them extra money if they are on local tv, so they don’t give a shit.

  59. To move NFL games to PPV, would require Congressional action to change the anti trust laws. Congress has mandated that the NFL must provide over the air broadcast free of charge (as long as the black outs are lifted). This came about because if you sell out the stadium, only those attending, or were able to get tickets could see the game. If the stadium has not reached enough sales to lift the blackout, the NFL is required only to broadcast games to the away teams market.
    The blackouts WORK !! It pisses people off and people react when they get pissed. If it takes your team being on tv every week for you to know that they are there, you have a bigger problem than selling tickets. Every city that has a team knows they have one…It should’t have to be shown on local tv to draw interest in the team you already know is there. You are either interested or you are not. Even when games are blacked out, you know how well they are doing, so that’s just a cop out excuse.
    The cost of tickets HAS to go up due to the salaries of the players. A rookie salary cap needs to be introduced to help keep costs down. Owners can not pay millions upon millions of dollars in increased salaries each and every year without raising prices. The increase I see mentioned has been 20% more than the player got at their slot in the draft the previous year.
    The cost of insurance and medical care for injured players goes up, the cost of maintainence for stadiums increase, the cost of uniforms increase, the cost of travel increases, hotels for housing the teams increase, basically everything goes up and people want Owners to lower ticket prices? Be for real, you can’t increase your spending every year and reduce your income. That’s just bad business.
    The economy is part of the problem, but not all of it. Tvs are are so big and have such great pictures, plus the replay factors and all the different angles makes it much easier to enjoy the game for some people.
    Football used to be considered a rugged sport, not just for the players, but fans as well. Those kind of fans are old school and their numbers are dwindling. There are still a few out there, but it’s also a new generation of fan. During the Jacksonville- Denver game, the tempeture was 100 degrees. That’s hard to sit in for 3 hours. try taking your 5 year old out in that kind of temp. You would probably be arrested for child abuse nowadays.
    Funny how last year Jacksonville’s ticket sales problem was because of the fans sucking (even though they were not the only team having problems) but for this year the teams that are struggling is because of the economy. Funny how when the same problems hit different teams, there are different reasons for it.

  60. Somebody needs to tell Roger Goodell that he better buy the CD if he wants to hear the song on the radio, because that makes just as much sense as telling somebody to buy a ticket if they want to see the game on TV.

  61. Maybe the NFL should look at ticket prices and realize that they are slowly outpricing what your average fan can afford. To get a PSL and buy season tickets requires a lot of cash your average fan doesn’t have.
    And yes, while it’s great to go to a game it’s also a lot easier/cheaper to sit at home on any given sunday.
    I mean if the stadiums aren’t selling out it must mean the product is overpriced, not that there isn’t a demand for it.

  62. Maybe the NFL should look at ticket prices and realize that they are slowly outpricing what your average fan can afford.
    Can afford or choose not to? I think a little of both. Ticket prices simply can’t be adjusted to fit consumers desires. Too much money in payroll and expenses to just lower prices. Spending for owners increases by a large margin every year. You can’t increase spending and cut prices.
    Until there is some kind of rookie salary cap, and some kind of CBA that is actually good thinking and sound business principles ( for both sides) prices will continue to rise. Owners can not cut prices when they pay more in salary and every other team expense every year.
    Every thing goes up, and to suggest that owners discount tickets or lower ticket prices when everything else is increasing will drive teams to bankruptcy.

  63. He gave tix to a family in the Apple Store? If they are shopping in the Apple store I would think they could afford NFL tickets as much of a ripoff, I mean high price Apple products are!!! Its not like he walked into a dollar stor, Wal-Mart, Goodwill or low price grocery store & gave out tickets. Ground yourself back to reality & help the real people suffering in the economy!!

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