Suspension of blackout rule doesn’t hurt attendance

The NFL suspended the antiquated blackout rule for 2015. Regardless of the attendance figures for the first year without it, it would have been difficult to justify bringing it back. Based on attendance numbers from the first season without it, the NFL likely won’t try.

Via SportsBusiness Journal, NFL teams had average attendance of 68,400 during the 2015 regular season. Last year, the average was 68,776. It’s a drop of only 0.5 percent.

The decline would have been even lower but for a 9.9-percent reduction in Tennessee and an 8.1-percent decline in St. Louis.

Amazingly, the Cowboys saw a 1.5-percent increase, even though the team’s record plunged from 12-4 in 2014 to 4-12 in 2015.

All stadiums were at 97.9 percent of total capacity, a healthy percentage for the first year in which the league didn’t refuse to televise home games in the local market if all non-premium seats weren’t sold.

So the blackout rule is dead. And attendance at NFL games remains very much alive — even with staying at home and watching the games on TV an increasingly affordable and enjoyable option.

19 responses to “Suspension of blackout rule doesn’t hurt attendance

  1. Going to games is a nice experience but the actual act of watching football is much better on my couch.

  2. Next
    Allow both networks to have double headers every week.

    Now when your team is home you only get that game on that network. At least that is my understanding

  3. Good to hear. The rule was stupid and never made any sense. You’re going to increase interest in your product by not televising it? Right.

    The rule was also insulting and a fine example of NFL hubris when it was used by teams that took public city / county money for their stadiums. Should have been illegal, and probably would have made it there given a few more years of the NFL insisting on the rule.

  4. Going to a game is a hassle and expensive compared to watching at home. I will still do it every year or two when my team is in town because it’s also fun.

  5. Now let the NFL Gamepass work in the US so we can see our teams when we no longer live in the market.

  6. The next step is to stop blacking out games on other channels.

    Example: I live in Houston, but am a Cowboys fan. Most of the time, when the Texans play at home, the Cowboys will be blacked out even though the Texans play on CBS and the Cowboys play on FOX. No Cowboys fan is going to go to the stadium to watch the Texans play just because the Cowboys are not being aired. The same could be said for Texans fans living in Dallas.

    This madness must be stopped.

  7. To be accurate the analysis should apply only to teams that were previously at risk of blackouts. It makes no sense to count the highly popular teams because their fans never bought tickets just to avoid blackouts.

    Count only the attendance of teams like the Chargers, Bills, Rams, Raiders, Bengals, and maybe a couple others to determine whether the blackout hiatus had any effect.

  8. I still don’t know anyone who would go to the game solely for the reason it was blacked out anyways. Especially with this thing called the Internet around which may or may not have that game somewhere…

  9. Seriously. In 30+ years of watching football, I’ve never heard “GAME AIN’T ON, Y’ALL PILE IN THE CAR, WE’RE GOIN’ DOWN TO THE STADIUM!”

  10. skunk ape says:
    Jan 6, 2016 1:19 AM
    Going to games is a nice experience but the actual act of watching football is much better on my couch.


    Not to mention much more peaceful, safer, cleaner, and healthier.

  11. Convenient to get rid of that rule right before endless LA blackouts would start happening.

  12. There are still places where the blackout rule makes a lot of sense, like Minnesota, Northern California, Florida, etc. where bad teams keep you from watching the better games (if you don’t have the internet or satellite dish).

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.