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Debate: NFL Blackouts


TBGKon

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I know this may or may not affect all of us, but just wanted to start a topic on it.

I just read that this weekends Bucs-Chiefs game will be blacked out. It is the first game to be blacked out in the Raymond James Stadium era (1998-pres).

I completely understand the purpose of the blackout rules, but you'd think the league would consider either eliminating the rules or modifying them to help those of us out who truly cannot afford to see NFL games in person.

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There are so many failsafes in place to prevent blackouts when you get down to about the mid-four digits (appealing for extensions, cutting prices*, civic leagues buying up remaining tickets for charity, the station buying up the tickets so they can air their programming) that if a game is blacked out, it really is because the team can't give the game away for free with that much inventory ready to disappear into thin air. If there are 35,000 seats available for a game, and 35,000 people can't buy any of them in a last-minute We Need To Show The Game drive, the NFL doesn't want your empty pockets. Jacksonville.

*especially dangerous gambit because it undermines season ticketholders who paid full price up front when they could've paid less at the deadline.

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Yeah just saw that on the local news. Its sad that a business that made like 7 billion in profits last year, sticks it to the fans like this in a bad economy, especially in the Tampa area. Hell they blackout enough games, people are probably just gonna give up all together and there wont be anyone there at the games at all lol. I did kind of find it funny how the news anchor said it though, "Well the Bucs were nowhere even close to selling out, so it will be blacked out" lol.

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Nobody's getting blacked out because they came up one ticket short at the last minute. It takes serious apathy and/or poverty on the part of a metropolis to exhaust every means of beating the blackout and still miss the mark by tens of thousands, and if that's the case, then you guys either don't care that much about the team anyway, or have bigger fish to fry. I mean, we're talking about a preseason game here! You're being granted a favor by having the mere option of NFL preseason taken away from you. That's time you can now spend paying bills, registering yourself online, moistening fencewood, or repositioning your doorknob.

Besides, they only get eight (relevant) guaranteed dates a year. It's not like baseball, where you don't need to fill every seat every night because your television contract is based on reliably filling airtime for half the year, and that attendance has never been expected by baseball anyway. Football has the unique dilemma of filling huge stadiums a few times. It's gotta suck to have 20,000 seats or whatever go unsold. That's a lot of empty seats to eat.

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I know this may or may not affect all of us, but just wanted to start a topic on it.

I just read that this weekends Bucs-Chiefs game will be blacked out. It is the first game to be blacked out in the Raymond James Stadium era (1998-pres).

I completely understand the purpose of the blackout rules, but you'd think the league would consider either eliminating the rules or modifying them to help those of us out who truly cannot afford to see NFL games in person.

It sounds rude but being able to watch an NFL game isn't a right. It, perhaps, may be a bad business choice to not showcase your product to the local audience but just because you can't afford to purchase something doesn't mean a company should give it away for free. If that were true, I wouldn't be using my bus pass to get back and forth to work.

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Football should be easier to sell out, compared to baseball or even basketball. There are only 8 home games in a regular season; the NBA has 41 and baseball has 81. Eight games times about 67,000 (rough off-the-top-of-my-head 2009 attendance average) gives about 536,000 total for the year, as opposed to about 17,000 times 41, or 697,000 for the NBA. That's nothing compared to MLB, where you have 7-digit figures for a season, the midpoint hanging around 2 Million. Add to that the fact that the average NFL day isn't to just go to the game; it's often a day-long event. An NFL home game is a far rarer commodity than an NBA, MLB, or NHL game; therefore, a sellout is far more important in the NFL than it is in the NBA, the NHL, or in MLB.

If an NFL team can't sell out their stadium for a game, without drastically reducing their ticket prices, then I'd say that they'd be in more trouble than an MLB, NHL, or NBA team, because, lets face it, unless you're the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs/White Sox, Dodgers, or Cardinals, you don't have a chance to sell out all 81 games any given year, and even then, that's no guarantee. It's still pretty hard to sell out 41 home games in the NBA and NHL, especially during this economic downturn.

Admiral's right. The NFL is more well-known as being for TV. At least in its market, a team's game is televised only when all seats (or very close to that) are filled. No one comes up just one ticket short; there has to be a considerable number abscent from the stadium to result in a blackout. When attendance is too low, then the team loses that chance for TV revenue, or exposure within its market, at the very least. No team's fans, with the market's population (JAX: 1.3 Mill, StL: 2.8 Mill) compared to the total attendance needed for a financially successful year (roughly 550,000), should have no problem filling stadiums. However, ticket prices are often too much for several people in those cities, and things aren't easier with the economy where it is. Should teams slash prices? I would say yes, especially in places like Jacksonville and St. Louis and especially during this downturn, but if they lower prices too far, then they don't make money.

This is a business, and a very competitive business at that, and if you don't make money, you don't compete.

The NFL won't be changing their blackout rules, though they do allow exceptions, which, I believe, buys a little more time to completely sell out the stadium if the sold tickets considerably close to stadim capacity.

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If an NFL team can't sell out their stadium for a game, without drastically reducing their ticket prices, then I'd say that they'd be in more trouble than an MLB, NHL, or NBA team, because, lets face it, unless you're the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs/White Sox, Dodgers, or Cardinals, you don't have a chance to sell out all 81 games any given year, and even then, that's no guarantee. It's still pretty hard to sell out 41 home games in the NBA and NHL, especially during this economic downturn.

Only Philadelphia, Boston, and Minnesota are playing at 100% or higher capacity for the season (note that this does not mean that they've sold out all of their games, but they all likely have.) The Phillies have sold out more than 90 straight games. The Cardinals haven't come close to selling out all home games.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance/_/sort/homePct

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Blackouts exist for the simple reason that they want to ensure live gate attendance. Not being able to see a game on television increases the likelihood that someone will buy tickets: either fans will buy them so they can see the game in person, or someone who would be financially affected by such game not airing (such as a television station, usually in concert with those advertisers who's ads wouldn't air) will buy up seats to ensure that the telecast is broadcast in the local market.

Either way, live gate remains very important for teams and their profitability. While network television revenue covers each club's player salaries for the year, that shared revenue is paid out in installments at various times throughout each year - while gate revenue is essentially cash in hand the club needs to operate on a day to day basis. So while at the end of everything gate revenue can represent predominately profit, from a cash flow perspective, it's huge.

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There are so many failsafes in place to prevent blackouts when you get down to about the mid-four digits (appealing for extensions, cutting prices*, civic leagues buying up remaining tickets for charity, the station buying up the tickets so they can air their programming) that if a game is blacked out, it really is because the team can't give the game away for free with that much inventory ready to disappear into thin air. If there are 35,000 seats available for a game, and 35,000 people can't buy any of them in a last-minute We Need To Show The Game drive, the NFL doesn't want your empty pockets. Jacksonville.

*especially dangerous gambit because it undermines season ticketholders who paid full price up front when they could've paid less at the deadline.

True enough.

Personally, I would exempt the pre-season games from the blackout rule, but the point will be moot in a couple years.

But if you can't sell out games, if civic-minded businesses or other entities aren't willing to buy blocks of them at a discount and give them away to charity, then your city can't support its team. If this happens with regularity, your city shouldn't have a team.

Jacksonville.

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There are so many failsafes in place to prevent blackouts when you get down to about the mid-four digits (appealing for extensions, cutting prices*, civic leagues buying up remaining tickets for charity, the station buying up the tickets so they can air their programming) that if a game is blacked out, it really is because the team can't give the game away for free with that much inventory ready to disappear into thin air. If there are 35,000 seats available for a game, and 35,000 people can't buy any of them in a last-minute We Need To Show The Game drive, the NFL doesn't want your empty pockets. Jacksonville.

*especially dangerous gambit because it undermines season ticketholders who paid full price up front when they could've paid less at the deadline.

True enough.

Personally, I would exempt the pre-season games from the blackout rule, but the point will be moot in a couple years.

But if you can't sell out games, if civic-minded businesses or other entities aren't willing to buy blocks of them at a discount and give them away to charity, then your city can't support its team. If this happens with regularity, your city shouldn't have a team.

Jacksonville.

St. Louis.

*cue STLFanatic's defenses of "but the team blows."*

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There are so many failsafes in place to prevent blackouts when you get down to about the mid-four digits (appealing for extensions, cutting prices*, civic leagues buying up remaining tickets for charity, the station buying up the tickets so they can air their programming) that if a game is blacked out, it really is because the team can't give the game away for free with that much inventory ready to disappear into thin air. If there are 35,000 seats available for a game, and 35,000 people can't buy any of them in a last-minute We Need To Show The Game drive, the NFL doesn't want your empty pockets. Jacksonville.

*especially dangerous gambit because it undermines season ticketholders who paid full price up front when they could've paid less at the deadline.

True enough.

Personally, I would exempt the pre-season games from the blackout rule, but the point will be moot in a couple years.

But if you can't sell out games, if civic-minded businesses or other entities aren't willing to buy blocks of them at a discount and give them away to charity, then your city can't support its team. If this happens with regularity, your city shouldn't have a team.

Jacksonville.

Absolutely, in that it's inane to charge regular-season prices for preseason games given the relative quality of play.

But why will it be moot*? Even if they cut the number of preseason games, they're not going away.

* Thank you for NOT saying it's 'mute' point, which is one of the most common word transpositions. :D

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If an NFL team can't sell out their stadium for a game, without drastically reducing their ticket prices, then I'd say that they'd be in more trouble than an MLB, NHL, or NBA team, because, lets face it, unless you're the Red Sox, Yankees, Cubs/White Sox, Dodgers, or Cardinals, you don't have a chance to sell out all 81 games any given year, and even then, that's no guarantee. It's still pretty hard to sell out 41 home games in the NBA and NHL, especially during this economic downturn.

Only Philadelphia, Boston, and Minnesota are playing at 100% or higher capacity for the season (note that this does not mean that they've sold out all of their games, but they all likely have.) The Phillies have sold out more than 90 straight games. The Cardinals haven't come close to selling out all home games.

http://espn.go.com/mlb/attendance/_/sort/homePct

I did say any given year. Were the Phillies selling out every game back in 2001 or 2002? I thought of teams that would be most likely to sell out regardless of the team's performance. But yea, the Cards aren't close to selling out every one of their home games, in the midst of a potentially playoff/division winning year. That list isn't perfect, and you heard it first from me.

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Absolutely, in that it's inane to charge regular-season prices for preseason games given the relative quality of play.

But why will it be moot*? Even if they cut the number of preseason games, they're not going away.

* Thank you for NOT saying it's 'mute' point, which is one of the most common word transpositions. :D

You're welcome. Drives me nuts, as well.

The NFL will still have preseason games, but it's certainly much less of an issue if they drop the number down to one or two.

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But if you can't sell out games, if civic-minded businesses or other entities aren't willing to buy blocks of them at a discount and give them away to charity, then your city can't support its team. If this happens with regularity, your city shouldn't have a team.

Jacksonville.

St. Louis.

*cue STLFanatic's defenses of "but the team blows."*

Agreed.

Heard the excuses, not terribly impressed by them.

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There's one thing I've never understood about the blackout rule: Why is the cutoff at 72 hours before kickoff? Why not, say, 24 hours? Better yet, why not just go all the way up to the scheduled kickoff time? Does the league, the home team, the network and/or its local affiliate really need a full three days' advance notice about whether they get to air the game locally or not?

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It's flat out stupid that pro sports charge full price for preseason games. I remember a couple of years ago, I wanted to go to a Sharks game, but was still full price. Yes even the NHL is stupid to do it too.

Well, they insist on keeping a team (Coyotes) in a place (Phoenix area) where it has never made any money after almost 15 years; they've got to make up for it somehow.

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