U.S. Senator from Ohio calls for end to “failed” blackout policy

Six of the Cincinnati Bengals’ seven home games this season will be blacked out locally.  One of the two U.S. Senators from Ohio believes that number should be zero.

But not because he believes all non-premium tickets should be purchased for the games at Paul Brown Stadium.  Senator Sherrod Brown believes that the NFL should abandon the policy that requires non-sellouts to be blacked out in the local market.

The NFL’s blackout policy is unnecessary,” Brown said in a statement, via USA Today.  “The NFL is poised to earn record profits while the Cincinnati taxpayers who built the stadium will be watching reruns rather than touchdown runs.  The rule is an outdated relic that doesn’t serve the NFL or the fans.”

Brown also pointed out that the league’s new broadcast TV contracts reflect a 60-percent increase over prior amounts paid by the networks.  Thus, Brown believes that the league shouldn’t hinge the decision to televise a team’s home games upon the team’s ability to sell tickets.

The league, not surprisingly, defends the blackout policy, which was adopted in 1973.  (Prior to that, home games simply weren’t televised at all in the local market, with or without a sold-out stadium.)

“The blackout policy is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets, keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds; and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to USA Today.  “Playing in full stadiums with thousands of fans is an important part of what makes NFL football an exciting and special entertainment event, both live and on television.  We have a limited number of games and do not want to erode the incentive to buy tickets.  Every market receives more than 100 NFL games on free TV every year, regardless of the blackout policy.”

That’s fine, but in this day and age how many people actually buy tickets to the local team’s home games due to a concern that, if they don’t, they won’t be able to see the game at all?  There will always be people who choose to attend games, and there will always be people who choose to stay home and watch whatever other game they can find on TV, or simply wait for the highlights.

The challenge for the league is to entice enough people in every market to choose to pay to attend the games.  And that means finding ways to make the in-stadium experience better (or, in the case of controlling the behavior of drunks and/or idiots and/or drunken idiots, not as bad).

It also means setting price points that will ensure a full stadium, based on the dynamics of each market.  In some places, it could mean building smaller stadiums.  While it’s indeed preferable to broadcast games with a full house of fans in the background, non-sellouts are still televised in other markets, regardless of whether the stands are full or empty.

So maybe Senator Brown is right.  Maybe the time has come to abandon the blackout policy.  As the rule approaches its 40th birthday, the only thing we know is that the blackout policy should at least be fully scrutinized, given that the manner in which folks consume video content has changed dramatically in the past four decades.

92 responses to “U.S. Senator from Ohio calls for end to “failed” blackout policy

  1. I don’t care about if it works or not. It’s holding the games in hostage against the fans. It’s despicable no matter what.

  2. Great that the Senator is worried about such important matters… not like, the economy is a mess.. or that he has a high rate of unemployment…

  3. As much as I’m against Congress getting involved in ANYTHING to do with the NFL b/c there are much more pressing national issues to deal with…..this DOES make 100% sense.

    If the area taxpayers paid for the stadium, they need to be able to see the games. The NFL needs to get their act together and realize that watching the game at home on a 50″ flat screen with pause/rewind/fast foward capabilities is better than $10 beers & $8 hot dogs in the freezing cold.

    Not saying that going to games isn’t an experience but if they NFL wants the live experience to be something to be desired, they need to make it affordable and have value to the customers.

    I agree with this senator but again, aren’t there really better things for him to be focused on? This just reeks of appealing to local voters.

  4. What the NFL should do is give discounts to returning fans. So lets say if a fan purchased tickets in week 1 they should be able to get a, lets say 15% discount on their next visit to the stadium and continue to increase the discount with every visit by a few percentage points. I think this will be a good way to give back to the fans and help them attend on a more consistent basis. If you think about it, a fan who attended lets say four games in the upper deck, could get a better discount and maybe he can now afford better seats and get a closer look at the actions. This isn’t the perfect idea but something along these lines would be good

  5. Can’t they just flex the most atrocious game on the schedule to the blacked out markets?

    Or even just swap one blacked out game from one market into the other blacked out market. So instead of pining over the missed opportunity to see the “home” team, they are stuck with watching the “home” team from somewhere else that nobody there wanted to watch.

    Why am I gypped out of a game because I don’t want to go to Tampa to watch the Bucs play? Frankly, I’d be more likely to watch just about any other game on TV than them anyway.

  6. Steelers are the only draw in Ohio. I unfortunately live in Ohio. This time of year especially, ya see more black n gold than orange. Besides that, the government probably has better things to worry about.

  7. Being drunk isn’t a problem – most of the fans at the London game are wasted every year and there are zero crimes committed and to my knowledge, no unhappy customers. It is the people who are drunk that are the problem.

    With regards to the blackout policy – I agree that the NFL needs to make it more attractive to go to the game. If I followed a losing team who is awful (Tampa), why on earth would I pay $100? per person per game to be depressed and not entertained when I can stay home and do the same for about $10 (beer + food cost)

  8. DUH!!!! Blackouts are obsolete…the stadium experience usually sucks… And they want us to pay for the stadiums and then force us to buy tickets… Very mafia like of them.. The nfl has missed out on 10yrs of revenue from internet streaming, so suck it up and make the nfl experience a reasonably priced luxurious experience and then we’ll go…

  9. the BO policy is absurd…. live fans will always be live fans and that’s it…..

    people who like their team but don’t care for the live experience or prefer the TV on a comfy couch experience are never ever…. ever gonna start buying tickets simply because the game is BOd….

    maybe it made sense when there were 1973 TVs in everyone’s home…

    but 10 times out of 10, I’ll watch whatever game is on in the comfort of my home on the 65 inch before I’ll go out and spend $100 to wait in line and see the game from the second deck….

  10. I’ve always felt the blackout policy is a total slap in the face to NFL fans- especially when teams keep hiking up ticket prices each year. How many dads can afford to shell out $250 to take their family to a game? And then those same families are denied the broadcast on their t.v. at home.
    And the NFL wonders why streaming web sites are so rampant….

  11. I don’t like politicians snooping around sports in general but I do agree with him, the NFL Blackout rule was instituted to protect the league back in the 60’s and 70’s, before the NFL was anointed (rightly so) King of American Sports! Honestly, teams relied on selling tickest back then far more than they do today.

    The owners get so much money from TV these days it’s really an embarrassment to black out games like that.

    Psssst, hey NFL owners, drop ticket, parking and concession prices and you’ll have full stadiums. The new TV deals you all just signed means you’ll be getting almost $7 Billion a year from TV before you sell a single ticket, jersey or advertising block, you can afford it, it will fill your stadiums and it’s good business!

  12. What about advertising dollar and the money the networks pay the NFL regardless? I would think that advertisers would start to dip off making what they pay the NFL less profitable. I alps think most fans would rather be at the game if affordable and would be. Then there are the apparel sales that they lose because, I wouldn’t buy a jersey of a team that I never saw. And why we are at it, drop the dam prices so more fans can go. It’s not like parking and concession sales wouldn’t be way up! You need people there to sell them. $8 dollar beers and $20 + parking passes would make up a lot of the dropped prices and they would have their full stadiums for the TV.

  13. Get a PC with a good video card, HDMI cable, get online and do some looking and then go to town….its not that hard to get around the blackout rule….

  14. Baloney, fans these days would MUCH rather watch the game at home on their 52 inch HDTV sets…not only that they dont have to sit next to jerks, drunks, fowl mouthed losers…wont have to buy crappy food for the price of a filet mignon dinner at home watching the game,…wont have to walk through vomit to get to a disgusting urinal…they park for free in their garages instead of 35 bucks in a crowded cesspool where if the team loses, fans are so drunk and mad they key cars on the way to theirs…the game day experience is dead, the majority of fans going to games do it as its one of the last places nowadays they can get wasted in public and act out and pretty much go unnoticed doing it…and by the way, the Commish is doing his best to destroy the NFL,…I see the NFL dying within 10 years.

  15. The blackout rule is outdated, in 1973 when Television Networks did not account for the dollar amount they do in todays economy it made sense for the blackout rule to be in effect. However, it is a joke for the NFL to cry about ticket sales as a justification for the blackout policy. Football is way to popular for that to stop people from going or not going to games…

  16. If you want to increase the experience at stadiums, get rid of the commercials on both ends of a kickoff. Nothing is more boring than watching your team score a touchdown and then sitting 5+ minutes of all the players standing around. At least at home you can go grab a beer in that time that was less than $7 (unless you have fancier beer tastes, I suppose).

  17. This Senator is 100% right…the taxpayers paid for the Bengals stadium, yet they can’t even watch the team they support with their tax dollars, on TV.

    This is nothing more than a form corporate welfare for a multi-billion corporation, the National Football League.

    About time, someone is Wash DC stood up to the NFL…long overdue.

    …and NO, I’m not a Bengals fan.

  18. This is a big market small market thing too. NYC call sell out every game for the next decade if only .1% of their population buy them. Go to a small market city and you have to be good to get them to sell out. I live in Buffalo and we used to have one of the biggest stadiums in the league 80,000+ we still sell out most of the games and we sucked for a decade. Now in a bad economy, the day before Christmas we are suppose to go out and buy tickets so we can see a bad team play. I would suggest they they at least modify the stupid rule. Why does 1 team only have to sell 65K tickets while another team has to sell 80K. Also why don’t they count actual fans that go. Look around on Sunday , a lot of the stadiums are missing fans . But they probably bought tickets and watched it at home

  19. How about fans actually show up? That place has almost as empty seats as Yankee Stadium.

  20. The blackout policy is what killed the CFL back in the day.

    Allot of people don’t know this but back then, the CFL was actually competing with the NFL for players.

    They had essentially the same blackout rule as the NFL has now and they ended up losing complete generations of fans.

    They never recovered.

  21. Leave it to the far-left to suggest even more useless government involvement in the private sector.

    For his next act, the Democrat senator from Ohio will suggest an extra timeout in each half for the Brownies and Bungles, and a border guard to keep Pennsylvanians out of Ohio on weekends.

    Journalists love to assume people are as myopic and biased as they are.

  22. Taxpayers should stop subsidizing NFL stadiums. What a joke. The owners make money hand over fist and taxpayers shouldn’t have to give them more.

  23. Actually, I think Senator Brown is on to something. Congress control’s the anti-trust exemption. Surely they can wordsmith an exemption for publicly financed stadiums. Generally it’s a bad deal for taxpayers but make it a condition that the NFL’s blackout policy cannot apply to publicly financed stadiums.

  24. Living in Cinci for 25 years and have been to both Paul Brown stadium and Heinz field to see my Steelers play. PBS is a total dump and the people of Hamilton county are not only getting ripped off on their stadium…but then there’s the team.

    That being said, I’ve never understood how the NFL thinks it’s going to generate interest in a team when the fans can’t even watch the games.

    Everybody I know in Cinci is more focused on college basketball right now than the Bengals. I see college basketball gear on people everywhere….not much Bengals attire in sight.


    No joke.

  25. Where exactly are these 100 games on free TV? My count gets me to somewhere around 71. 3×17 on sunday afternoons (single game on one network, double header on the other), 17 on sunday night, 2 on thanksgiving day, and the opening thursday night = 71.

  26. I think it’s true the NFL makes record profits off of our loyality, why shouldn’t they abandon that outdated policy. It just screams of greed, didn’t the owners and players just go through a work stoppage? It was all over how to split 9 billion dollars. How much is enough?

  27. Growing up I was a huge Bruins and Red Sox fan. Couldn’t care less about the Patriots. I became a huge football fan in 1994. Why? Because Patriots games actually started to appear on television because Kraft bought the team and they started to sell out games. It opened me up to the sport and I loved it almost from day one. I’d love to go to more games but tickets are extremely hard to get. I couldn’t possibly be a fan of a team where I wasn’t guaranteed to be able to watch every game on television. People wonder why college football isn’t popular up here in New England. Well, maybe its because Boston College televises about 3 of its games, even though we get to watch games like Georgia Tech vs Virginia every week on the ACC channel.

  28. The league’s TV contracts are a joke. I live in Youngstown, Ohio now; the city is roughly evenly divided between Pittsburgh fans and Cleveland fans because the city is exactly 60 miles from either city.

    In 2007, I only got to see 8 Pittsburgh games including the playoffs. I’ve missed 3 Pitt games this year because of lame TV contracts.

    That’s just for Pitt, though. The NFL did the same thing to Cleveland fans a few times, too; that’s just wrong.

    I typically see more Philly and Dallas games on a given year than Pittsburgh games because of the league’s contracts with Fox.

    But this all goes back to Anti-Trust laws; for some reason ($$$) sports leagues are given an exemption. Now if only the people could buy off the Senators, too.

  29. The blackout rule is purely stupid and just way for a monopoly to extract more money out of the fan base.

    They are playing stadiums that were paid for by tax dollars, paying owners, staff and players outrageous salaries payed for from money we spend, then they are going to black it out if it doesn’t sell out fast enough? That’s pure greed and selfish.

    I live 206 miles away from Orchard Park and the Bills games get blacked out here due to archaic cable rules. The NFL will black out for 72 miles, I’m clearly beyond that but still get blacked out. I also pay directv for the right to view these games and still they get blacked out. I have complained about this to directv for the last 16 years and they can never give me a reason. The only one these rules benefits are the owners.

    I’m not a Bills fan so I don’t care about them, but the fact that their rules cannot be enforced correctly and people who actually pay money for Sunday Ticket for the rights to these game can’t see them even though I’m 206 miles away is just plain wrong.

    How bout the league pays me back retroactively for the last 16 years with all the games I couldn’t watch?

  30. Another Dummycrap who’s poll numbers must be tanking latches on to a timely issue like the Cincy blackouts and hopefully panders to enough disgruntled Bengals fans to keep his statism loving a$$ in office.

    Mean while here in the Land of Green & Gold, we thumb are noses at all of this. 88k on the waiting list for seasons tickets.

  31. To curtainclosed: Why are Steeler fans so color blind? The fans always say black and gold….they will not admit it’s YELLOW!!!! You can’t get more yellow…the Saints are black and gold!! You don’t see the packers saying Green and gold. The reason you see so much black and yellow in ohio is that Steeler fans are front runners…back in the 80’s and part of the 90’s they were no where to be found.

  32. Part of the issue with the NFL’s blackout rule is that not all stadiums are the same size.

    The old Pontiac Silverdome had lots of blackouts, but it wasn’t because the Lions weren’t selling tickets. It was because the stadium was so insanely huge. The Silverdome held 70,000+ for a Lions game. It held 93,000+ if you were the Pope or Hulk Hogan.

    In the 90s (Barry Sanders/Herman Moore era), the Lions regularly had non-sellout crowds of 50,000+ at the Silverdome. Those games were rarely telecast locally.

  33. this stupid black out rule is just another reason the no fun league will never get another dime from me.
    the bengals don’t sell out, yet the browns can still pay 200 million cash to buy outstanding shares of the team. i pay tax to pay for the friggin stadium everytime i buy something in hamilton county, but i still can’t watch the games on tv. even bought nfl sunday ticket, still blacked out.

  34. I love the comments about how Presidents/Senators/anyone in government shouldn’t worry about the operations of anything other than the government.

    I can imagine, back in 1999 or 2000, when Microsoft was being broken apart for anti-trust violations, BY THE GOVERNMENT, these same people rushed to their dial-up modems and posted on message boards, “Please, Mr. Clinton, stop worrying about what Bill Gates is doing and worry about getting our country back on track.”

    Look, he’s a Senator from OHIO. As a senator, his job is to serve his state and his country on government scale. That doesn’t just include voting on tax cuts and battling with the opposing party on every issue. Did any of you take a civics course in high school? Congress is big enough to handle multiple issues. Believe it or not.

  35. How about streaming games online… keep your blackout but paying a bloody fortune for Sunday ticket is stupid.
    Ala cart per game solves ton of issues and they still make money.

  36. The NFL needs to allow fans the right to purchase shares in their team to become part owners. The Green Bay Packers are owned by their fans and are a model franchise. What are the odds of the Green Bay share holders moving the Packers to L.A.? = ZERO Fans should be sick and tired of being held hostage to greedy billionaire owners.

  37. What about teams that actually play in a stadium they built and paid for with their own money? Typical shortsighted political thinking. The NFL is a private entity and the deals they worked with local governments, who were foolish enough to pay for the stadiums, is none of no business to Congress.

  38. I did not see that the Senator was proposing the gov’t should get involved, so I have no problem with him expressing a (at this point) personal opinion (we all have those outside our regualr jobs).

    But, for the most part I enjoy the blaclout rule. If my local team stinks so bad it can’t sell out, I can watch a BETTER game on TV. Often between teams I have more interest.

  39. caseyanthonymunoz says:
    Dec 23, 2011 5:44 PM
    How about fans actually show up? That place has almost as empty seats as Yankee Stadium.
    Another impressive statement (and not just the grammar) from someone who purports to be a Bengals fan.

  40. Blackouts are an outdated idea that hurts teams more than they help nowadays. Fans who either can’t attend games or don’t want to still often buy merchandise. Denying fans the opportunity to watch games won’t sell any more jerseys and t-shirts. But it will considerably increase the ad revenue from live streaming websites, which the NFL won’t see a penny of.

  41. Please don’t lift the black out. At least I get to watch teams with owners that care about winning. Mike Brown is only interested in the money. He does’t care if the Bengals win as long as his check book is running over. Any game is better than a Bungle’s game

  42. This article does not suggest that the Senator is pushing for legislation or any kind of law…he is just voicing his opinion. That is called leadership. Frankly, that is an important aspect to government.

  43. The one thing (which may include drunks) that drove me away from the stadium experience is that once you have one, two, three, etc people stand up in the front row for a long period of time, means that everyone behind them will stand up. How are those family’s supposed to enjoy their overpriced meal and beverages while standing and still not able to see above those in front of them. At home, I can tell someone to move without fear of getting my ass kicked. Me and my friends used to attend half of the home games at Oakland and only one of us was a Raider fan. It’s been ten years plus.

  44. trbowman says:
    Dec 23, 2011 5:27 PM
    I have never once in my life felt compelled to go to an NFL game. Lousy experience.

    I’ve turned down free tickets, too.
    _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _

    Why does this not surprise me? I can’t imagine you are a true fan of anything. 90% of your posts are about who and what you hate.

  45. While congressmen need to focus on more important issues right now The senator is right. Im not giving the Nfl one more penny until they realize who pays the bills. 300 Dollars for Sunday ticket? 250 For an authentic jersey? Thanks but I’ll buy the Chinese knock off for 40 and watch for free online. Seriously would they lose money selling jerseys for a hundred bucks? I doubt it. Or telling direct tv to sell team specific game package for 100-150? probably not.

  46. People, it’s the sign of times. Look at HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, those GOP greedy ba$tards were willing to hold 160 millions Americans hostage for their own political gain. Finally, a politician looking out for the middle/poor class, not top 1%. you idiots, who thinks otherwise are morons.

  47. The equivalent to this asinine rule is, say, Wal-Mart or Target shuting down their online stores just because the parking lots are not completely full at their brick and mortar stores.

    The NFL is the only business in the world or history that punishes its customers for not buying their high priced product. Look at the economy, NFL. People would rather save money to put food on their table, gas in their cars, clothes on their family’s backs, or be able to buy health insurance because the system is broken.

  48. If you want more people to go to the games, then don’t make it so damn expensive. But since this is all about greed anyway, that’ll never happen.

    The problem is, the NFL doesn’t seem to understand that blacking out home games makes people less likely to follow their team, which means FEWER tickets sold, not more.

    It might’ve worked a couple decades ago, but it doesn’t anymore, especially since all the games can be found on the internet anyway.

  49. NFL tickets are 95% bought before hand (NBA is not even at 80%, I don’t think). If the team sucks for a long period, no one will go, regardless of how nice the owner is. Donald Sterling will get sellouts the whole year but he’s a despicable scumbag.

    This is a Cincinnati issue.

    Winning sells tickets most of the time.

    Well-run winning organizations will always sell more tickets than bad organizations.

    Owning a sports team is a semi-public service, and not just a business venture. Some owners understand this, some don’t.

  50. @nuclearwarfare

    “I can imagine, back in 1999 or 2000, when Microsoft was being broken apart for anti-trust violations, BY THE GOVERNMENT”

    Sure, except you conveniently forgot to mention that the whole reason Microsoft could sustain a monopoly in the first place is because of the government. Government is the reason that big business continues to be big business.

  51. all the nfl cars about is $$$$ they do not care about safety or any of that…..
    soon we will have games tuesday too so players CANT rest and are at an even higher risk of injury PLUS only on the nfl network where u can only watch them if u pay blood money….

  52. If you’re like me, you give a thumbs down to off-topic posts. So give me a thumbs down.

  53. What have politicians done to protect the 100,000,000 fans in this country from the 120 billionaire pro-sports owners? Answer: NOTHING. People throughout the country unanimously do NOT want to subsidized pro sports stadiums and yet politicians are the ones who make it happen.

  54. There are two statements in the USA Today
    article that you morons are completely overlooking.

    The NFL admits that “keeping our game attractive as television programming ” needs LARGE CROWDS,
    The NFL admits that “playing in FULL stadiums with THOUSANDS OF FANS is an important
    part of what makes NFL Football.

    Botton Line: In order to sell their “product”, the NFL needs YOU, more than YOU need the NFL.

    Effective immediately, we will no longer spend our hard-earned money to buy tickets to NFL Games. Rather we will demand that the NFL provide a box lunch and free beer to all games we the FANS attend.

  55. It’s owners punishing fans for not spending money. Maybe im bias’d after the niner raider pre season game that nearly took our lives, but hd with rewind vs idiot crowds and overpriced everthing is an easy pick.

  56. “ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said.

    Free TV? Really? Huh. And here I thought the NFL earned $9 billion dollars in broadcasting rights fees. Seems like the TV networks who PAY the NFL that $9 billion dollars would WANT those local markets to be able to earn advertising revenue during the broadcast of those NFL games. Talk about a double whammy. Pay the $9 billion, and can’t even broadcast the game.

  57. I think the policy is ridiculous too. It deprives the die hards of watching the games just because their team didnt sell out the game. Thats not fair in this economy to expect fans to come to the stadium or else.

    That being said, this country is a complete mess. I would rather this incompetent government find better use of their time than worrying about what the NFL is doing

  58. I don’t understand what the complaint is. People voted on building Mike Brown a stadium long after both the blackout policy was established and the Bengals sucked. There is/was no special right to watch a football game in Cinci. And owning a sports team is not a public service. It is a for profit endeavor for both the collective league and the individual owner. They do work deals with the cities. Sometimes the owners shake down cities (see Cinci) and sometimes they move for a straight cash deal(see Cleveland). Sure, they do some community work when there are cameras around, but don’t confuse them for the cops or fire service. In any case, people might go to a football game if they had some disposable income from their awesome job in a thriving, well run state Mr. Senator.

  59. I guess that’s what you call, ‘having your cake and eating it too’ the way the teams/NFL basically blackmail the comminity into funding the stadium, then the blackmail them again by not broadcasting games becuase they don’t sell all of the tickets…pretty smarmy.

    The main reason I refuse to cater to their needs by spending ZERO on merchandise or tickets…screw ’em.

  60. The blackout rule, which is not an issue in Philly, is a relic of the past. As a guy that has seen 150+ Eagles home and away games in person, I am now getting to the point where I am not as motivated to go to the games anymore, because. The experience at home is just too good, especially with the Red Zone Channel. Plus, I was diagnosed with cancer last year and I am not in the same health I used to be. I feel bad for the old sickly person that has loved the Bengals for years and now can’t go and can’t watch. I would be fine with a one year experiment where the NFL says we’ll waive the blackout rule but if attendance suffers we will put in back in.

  61. This Senator is an idiot. I guess players should pay in virtially empty stadiums. If the local populace can’t support and NFL team, then it’s time for that team to move when it’s lease is up,

  62. Cincinnati shouldn’t even have an NFL franchise. Their fans should be lucky that they are getting to watch the Browns every week instead. We might suck, but at least are fans are loyal enough to sell out the stadium every week. Cincy can’t even sell out when they are in the middle of a wild card hunt. Pathetic!!!

  63. derekjetersmansion says: Dec 23, 2011 8:14 PM

    NFL tickets are 95% bought before hand (NBA is not even at 80%, I don’t think). If the team sucks for a long period, no one will go, regardless of how nice the owner is. Donald Sterling will get sellouts the whole year but he’s a despicable scumbag.

    This is a Cincinnati issue.

    Winning sells tickets most of the time.

    Well-run winning organizations will always sell more tickets than bad organizations.

    Owning a sports team is a semi-public service, and not just a business venture. Some owners understand this, some don’t.
    Last time I checked, the Bengals were a playoff contending team. No excuse for Bengal “fans” not to support their team.

  64. Jacksonville doesn’t blackout (fact). Hence move the LA relocation talks to the Ohio teams…people move out of that state anyways (another fact)

  65. First let me say that the NFL must employ no one in marketing or else they would see they are ruining their brand and standing with fans with the high ticket prices after a lockout and strictly enforcing the blackout rules in a bad economy.

    Second one thing really stood out to me in the story above:

    and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement to USA Today.

    REALLY!!! Is that why games are broadcast on the NFL network that is part of a premium package for most cable providers? And the NFL plans to add more Thursday night games where the average fan who is lucky enough to have a job and can afford tickets can’t go. NFL needs to hire some marketing and PR professionals very soon.

  66. Botton Line: In order to sell their “product”, the NFL needs YOU, more than YOU need the NFL.

    Amen brother, it’s a shame that I can ONLY give you one thumbs up.

  67. Having worked at Soldier Field for 4 years, I have been to many NFL games and saw them from different vantage points around the stadium and I can tell you that watching the game is much so better on T.V.
    It just is.
    Better views, instant replay, no lines to relieve yourself, cold beer for a fraction of the price, better food, no parking required, no drunken jerks to deal with, comfortable seating, perfect conditions in your home no matter what month it is…

    If the fans do not want to support the team in Cincinnati then they can have tractor pulls at their new stadium while the Bengals move to Columbus.
    Start running the league like it is a business instead of an inheritance.

  68. On the other hand, a good number of games were blacked out back in 1990 when the Patriots were 1-15, which wasn’t a bad thing, since the team sucked so bad when they were on the road that nobody wanted to go to that excuse for a stadium (the original Foxboro). Get a better team and a nicer stadium, and the fans will come back.

  69. Senator Brown needs to worry about keeping the country from going broke. I LOVE the Blackout Rule. As a Jet Fan I will not pay $25,000 for a Personal Seat License and $700 per game tickets. If the games were affordable I would be there. Also if you can’t put out a competitive team like Buffalo, Jacksonville, Bengals (exclude this year), Cleveland etc then you deserve to be blacked out. In fact I want the Blackout Rule Strengthened. Simple if the home game is not sold out then it needs to be blacked out in the home TV market. The owners of the teams blacked out lose major advertising dollars which is more than the PSL’s. There should be no rule getting around blackouts by owners buying the remaining seats. I could care less about a stadium that I spend 3-4 hours in. Simple No Sellout then Home TV Market Blackout.

  70. It’s Bush’s fault….just joking. Stadiums should sell out. Fans shouldnt expect a handout. Thats the problem with this country right now.
    I’m a season ticket holder for the Jaguars yet I live in Virginia. It is an expensive passion that I have but I’ve had to just work much harder to be able to afford to support my team to the fullest.

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