Blackouts up 63 percent in 2010

On Sunday, three games will be blacked out locally:  Redskins-Lions, Titans-Chargers, and Seahawks-Raiders.

In all, the total number of blackouts has increased by 63 percent over last year at this same time, according to

There have been 13 blackouts through the first eight weeks of the season.  Last year, 22 games were blacked out over 17 weeks.

The fact that the news comes on suggests that the league believes the phenomenon has relevance to the ongoing CBA discussions.  And it does, given that the NFL will point to the increased blackouts as further evidence that the league isn’t making as much money as it would like to make, justifying the notion that the slice of the pie that goes to the players needs to shrink.

That said, the growth of blackouts also tends to undermine the idea that the NFL then will make up the difference by growing the total pie.

23 responses to “Blackouts up 63 percent in 2010

  1. The Lions went 0-16 and then raised ticket prices the following season. That about sums it up – stop raising prices.

  2. Exactly. It’s the ticket prices. Don’t try to use the fans as pawns, NFL and NFLPA. People can’t spend the kind of money they once could in these times. And in many places, the face price is irrelevant. A division game for the Eagles would cost me at least $250 per ticket, for example.
    Another reason? Parity. I think that the NFL’s experiment with parity has actually backfired. It’s created a bunch of mediocre teams, a bunch of bad teams, and a few good teams. Fans like to have some idea of what’s going to happen. They don’t like that a 1-6 team has every chance in the world of beating a 7-0 team. No one has any clue what will happen. While the NFL clearly thought this would result in more competition, especially in the smaller markets, it’s gone the other way. No fan’s team is as good (or bad) as he thinks it is. The fans get demoralized when their team loses unpredictably. Fans like stability, and this is not it.

  3. …and so far not one blackout due to “those ungrateful Jacksonville fans” that “don’t deserve a team”. Where are all the haters now? Where are all of the Los Angeles Chargers/Browns/Lions comments at?

  4. I wonder if any sports economist has tried to pin down the estimated boon to ticket sales of the blackout rule. I’d have to guess the fraction of fans who buy tickets if and only if the game isn’t on is not big enough to make up for lost TV revenue and especially long-term lost brand power due to fans never seeing their teams and thus not caring as much.

  5. The move towards two hand touch pro football can’t help in the long run either. I mean there’s nothing like a big hit to get the stadiums juices flowing. It’s hard to picture the stadium doing a collective EWWWW!! when a nice two handed touch has been made.

  6. Shouldn’t be a surprise, the NFL has done a great job of marketing the ease of watching all of the games in HD in the comfort of your own home.

  7. “The fact that the news comes on suggests that the league believes the phenomenon has relevance to the ongoing CBA discussions.”
    Wow, really. It was horrible Jag fans last year. Jax don’t deserve a team. Jax shouldn’t have never gotten a team. But this year it’s the economy and NOW the CBA, that’s a new one. Jax hasn’t had a blackout yet just like haven’t had up until last, but you’ll never know it with Florio and his agenda. But I wouldn’t expect you ignorant s0 called NFL fans to know any better. You all get all of your info from PFT(an opinion and rumor site).

  8. Roger ought to wake up. $45 to see the Lions? Ticket prices are nuts… and those are the “cheap” seats. Godell and the owners are whack, what the hell do they care.?

  9. That number would be higher if it weren’t for local TV stations and a few companies bailing out the Bengals to keep them on TV.
    Ticket, concession and parking prices are too high, people have bigger HD TV’s and the economy is still junk. Also, the fan experience courtesy of a lot of 25 year old power drinkers is less than great especially if you want to take a kid to the game.

  10. SDW2001 says: October 31, 2010 11:32 AM
    Another reason? Parity
    I agree with you whole heartedly on the ticket price issue, but I am not so sure your parity argument holds much water. A 1-6 team having the ability to win any game and the 7-0 team having the ability to lose any game, would actually be a reason for fans to come and cheer their team. I really don’t see how a few good teams curb stomping the rest of the league would be much fun, or increase attendance at the games. As for fans liking stability. Thats probably true for the teams that are very good, but the unpredictability is what keeps the fans of teams with a losing record coming back. People like the underdog stories.

  11. Just wait ’til the London Bridges or Madrid Bullfighters come to town !
    You won’t be able to be able to sniff a ticket then !

  12. I’m going to the blacked out Charger game because I got free tickets, otherwise id be watching on the internet like most Charger fans.
    The Chargers owners are a joke who made a point to lowball the players a lot of people came out to see. We have an a-hole GM who made a point to prove our greatest franchise player was washed up and then drafted a guy who isnt fit to tie his shoelaces.
    That’s why Charger games are blacked out. And im a diehard fan but i’m all for them moving to LA, San Diegos fanbase is not comprised of mainly Charger fans so it stands to reason why we can’t sell out games with transplants from all over.
    Bottom line when your team has the same record as the Browns, nobody is going to show up

  13. Amongst my friends “BO’s” are up 100% with the awful team and organization Steve Ross has turned the Miami Dolphins into. You don’t use all the sh%t that is thrown up against the wall, love it when you can roll during football games at 1pm- way to turn a blind eye to that aspect of your nightclub. People will say , he is an out of the box thinker, no he is not, that is what he is making the fans think. It is all a facade for his way to gain the trust of state and city officials, so he can rob the people of Dade County for money.
    It is a very dark period in Miami Dolphins football history, it will be a great day when he sells the team. Right now he is the worst majority owner in Dolphins history(short list but he is still at the bottom).

  14. I think there are two main things that are creating more blackouts. Number one, ticket prices. In tough economic times, people simply can’t afford to pay the price that the NFL teams are charging for tickets….and that’s even before paying for parking, concessions, etc. The second thing is big flat screen TVs. Its simply become more comfortable to just sit home and watch the game in HD on your 42″ flat screen than to fight the weather, traffic and parking just to sit up in the nosebleed section above the end zone.

  15. If I want to take my son to see a Giants/Jets game, it’s gonna cost me $300 for upper deck seats/parking/little food etc. And the upper deck seats in the new stadium blow. With prices being what they are, I won’t go on principal alone.

  16. Sorry, the economy is the reason to blame for the rise in blackouts, and if you don’t see that you are simply not paying attention. Small market teams are in local economies that have a tough time supporting job growth, so there is less money to go around there.
    And the parity argument is totally bunk. I wouldn’t watch my Bengals if I didn’t think they couldn’t possibly beat a better team, which they usually play. Football is doing as well as it is partly because of parity. That is why baseball is going down the tubes. Todays fans want to watch success, and without parity, only three or four teams would have consistent success.
    How the rules are enforces also makes no difference. I guarantee that you will still watch short of them making it two hand touch, because it will still be the best thing out there.
    The total pie will only grow if the economy turns around, not because of anything done in the CBA.

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