Blackout Rule Shouldn’t Fluster Bucs

July 5th, 2012

Reports in their respective cities reveal that the Bengals and Chargers, two teams that struggle to fill their stadiums, are wrestling to decide the best “magic percentage” to choose for their new TV blackout cutoff.

So what the hell does that mean, Joe?

Well, the NFL’s decision to let teams only sell as little as 85 percent of tickets for home games and still have them televised comes with a catch. Per Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk.com, a team must pick an exact percentage that covers every game for the entire season, and if a team sells more than whatever percentage it chooses for a game — 85 percent, 88 percent, 92 percent, etc. — then the team must give 50 percent of the ticket revenue over the percentage to the visiting team, versus the 34 percent previously required.

That could discourage every team from picking 85 percent as its new blackout threshold. The San Diego Union-Tribune says the Chargers are unlikely to take advantage of any rule change, despite two blackouts last season.

If a team lowers the bar for blackouts, the number is fixed for the season. Whenever the team clears the mark, it will be required to share more ticket revenue than usual with other teams in the league. It’s that part of the new rules that the Chargers believe would be too high a price to pay, said A.G. Spanos, the team’s executive vice president and chief executive officer.

“And even if you went to 15 percent lower, hypothetically an 85 percent manifest, that doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a lift of the blackout for every game,” Spanos said Monday. “It’s also important to understand that the manifest is set for the year for every game, whether it’s a big game for us or a game with a less attractive opponent.”

Joe gets teams like the Bengals and Chargers wrestling with the new rule; the Bengals have a night game against the Steelers and their home-opener against state-rival Cleveland, two guaranteed sellouts. The Chargers also have two night home games.

But the Bucs on the other hand have no home night games and no opponent guaranteed to put butts in the seats other than Philadelphia in December. Joe would think it would be an easy decision for the Bucs to choose the 85-percent mark or something darn close to it.

Regardless, barring an intervention or a huge rush of ticket sales, Joe’s not seeing how the Bucs’ preseason games are going to find their way to live television next month.

23 Responses to “Blackout Rule Shouldn’t Fluster Bucs”

  1. T in Orlando Says:

    That seems fair similar to the tarps to cover seats, do it for all games, or don’t do it at all.

    Question Joe, do you know if the teams see any benefit from the local affiliate when the home games sellout? I would imagine the local Fox stations would much rather put a Bucs game than another game, to put more eyeballs on their channels. I wonder if they would be willing to purchase a luxury box or two to ensure the best chance the games are not blacked out.

    Of course if it makes no financial difference to the team, either directly nor indirectly, then I don’t see why they would opt for this.

  2. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Says:

    I just hope a lot the games are not blacked out, like last season.
    It is the Tampa Economy that is the problem, IMHO.

  3. BamBamBuc Says:

    Not sure, but I don’t think the luxury boxes count towards lifting a blackout. I think it’s more “general admission” seating. Club and Luxury are separate. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  4. Dini's Biceps Says:

    The Glazer Family is so desperate for CASH <—- they're putting their Kick Ball team on the Stock Market (smh). That's why we are still $16 Million under that Cap. I expect 6 black outs this year.

  5. Bucnjim Says:

    Chris, it’s the economy everywhere! Joe list’s two teams, but in reality there are at least 12 small market teams that will struggle to fill seats again this year. Don’t mistake corporate blocks of tickets sold to butts in the seats. Sure some of these teams are claiming sell outs, but if you look at the stadium itself there is only around 50-60% capacity. Tampa; like other small market teams is lacking in large corporation sponsors to pick up any slack.

  6. Dini's Biceps Says:

    Joe, ProFootballFocus just released info re: the most missed tackles by LB’s in the last 3 YEARS…..Quincy Black & Geno Hayes are at the top of the list (Rock Star Mark D…..huh?)

  7. ron Says:

    dini what round did mark draft them in???

  8. Dini's Biceps Says:

    doesn’t matter….Mark is responsible for aquiring NFL caliber players & paying them according to their talent level…..Mark has failed disgracefully “Go Bucs”

  9. BigMacAttack Says:

    Leave it to the NFL to take something simple and make it complex and convoluted. Why not just make it 85% minimum, everything else the same, and leave it at that?

    But No!!!

    Some things just don’t make sense. A lot of things just don’t make sense. Does anything make sense anymore? Oh hell no!

    Whatever, I’m going to the games, but it is still nice to record them to go back and see the details. And what of all the poor kids that seriously can’t afford to go to the games? Stuck at home, having to watch Tony Romo. Yuckkkk!

    This is like being giving a bite of steak. No I want the whole thing. Put it on a plate. Walk it through a warm kitchen and serve it to me bloody with a glass of Merlot.

  10. BigMacAttack Says:

    I feel Mark Dominick has done a pretty good job. For a somewhat Green GM, he is learning and he will improve. He is very fan friendly too, sharp as a tack, and very well spoken. No, he isn’t perfect but is anybody perfect? other than Dini-Weenie and Thomas?

  11. T in Orlando Says:

    @ BigMacAttack

    The NFL has to put some sort of penalty in place for teams opting to reduce the blackout percentage, so teams aren’t tempted to minimize advertising/marketing efforts or maximize ticket price just to ensure they’re reaching 85%. The ultimate goal for any team should/would be to sellout each and every game, so that’s what they should be striving for when considering promotions, ticket prices, etc.

    However allowing for as low as 85%, the NFL acknowledges that there is an issue, despite teams efforts to put butts in the seats, and this is to help those teams, not be a reason for other teams to put more money in their pockets.

    There are owners out there, that currently don’t have too much difficulty selling out games, that would see this as an opportunity to raise ticket prices or reduce a marketing budget, knowing the games would still be available for their local market to view on TV if they reached 85% of capacity.

  12. csidedave Says:

    The details of this rule are just another example for the NFL becoming unnecessarily complicated. Just like: completely different rules for replay based on the time on the clock; which players you can hit where and how close to the line; the fine line between a great hit, a personal foul and a suspension; what is a catch after hitting the ground and on and on.

  13. Garv Says:

    Well, we all know pre-season games are a ripoff anyway.
    I go because I have to buy them with the season ticket package.
    No WAY they sell individual tickets at full price.

    Having typed that, they are enjoyable in that there’s no pressure to win. It’s a nice laid back experience for the fans, chatting with seat neighbors, that sort of thing.

    I think ticket sales will be coming back up, that the Bucs have bottomed out in that area. There is still NOTHING better to do on a Sunday afternoon in the fall IMO.

    Buccaneers in 2012?

    Can’t WAIT!!!

  14. SeriouslyConcerned Says:

    So what about the tarps then Joe? Are those still an option to prevent blackouts?

  15. Have A Nice Day Says:

    NFL makes its money from TV. Even with the 50%, they team makes more money when a game is televised than not.

  16. Joe Says:

    T in Orlando:

    Question Joe, do you know if the teams see any benefit from the local affiliate when the home games sellout? I would imagine the local Fox stations would much rather put a Bucs game than another game, to put more eyeballs on their channels. I wonder if they would be willing to purchase a luxury box or two to ensure the best chance the games are not blacked out.

    There were a couple of times in the past few years where the Bucs were somewhat close to a sellout, yet WTVT — or WTSP — didn’t pull the trigger on tickets to ensure a sellout, which is what happens in some markets.

    That tells Joe the TV beancounters don’t think this is a wise investment, or the stations simply don’t have enough advertising inventory sold to pull off this move.

  17. Joe Says:


    Joe, ProFootballFocus just released info re: the most missed tackles by LB’s in the last 3 YEARS…..Quincy Black & Geno Hayes are at the top of the list (Rock Star Mark D…..huh?)

    Joe’s guessing you have no clue who drafted those two players.

    But, yeah, giving Quincy Black a raise, no one can defend that — and Joe hasn’t.

  18. Joe Says:


    So what about the tarps then Joe? Are those still an option to prevent blackouts?

    Dear God, Joe hopes that’s not an option. A half-empty stadium looks better than those hideous tarps.

  19. Lion Says:


    “Joe’s guessing you have no clue who drafted those two players.”

    Exactly what I was thinking when I read her comments.

  20. Scubog Says:

    Garv: I too enjoy the Pre-Season games for the same reasons you mentioned. It’s just part of the cost. I’ve never missed a home game in 36 years and no doubt will drop dead in my seat eventually. My take is that the popularity of our local team wanes based on their success on the field. When they win the game is the place to be; but when they lose our transplanted population is happy to revert back to their former loyalties. The apathy towards the Buccaneers grows even more when they aren’t on TV. Fringe fans simply do something else. Without seeing them on TV, the urge to be a part of the action live disappears even more. People here seem to root for certain players more than the team itself. Hopefully some of our youngsters can become as popular as D. Brooks, Sapp, Lynch, Alstott and others and return to a stadium of sell-outs.

    Dini: You realize that the little “kickball” team is the most valuable sports team in the world don’t you? “Strapped for cash” Laughable. I suppose the creator of Facebook was also “strapped for cash” when he went public with the company. Even a billionaire can use another hundred million.

  21. Garv Says:

    I have to admit, it’s kind of fun reading dini’s weenie commenting on thing she knows absolutely nothing about. Trolling and stupidity usually go hand in hand, but the weenie takes it to a whole new level and you have to laugh AT…….certainly not with.

    As Scubog typed, with the wins will come player identification for for the fringe fans, the ones who “were always there” though not seen, and the seats will be filled. NO to the tarps idea. IMO they look pathetic and negative……THE most ridiculous cover up of them all.

    Buccaneers in 2012?

    Can’t WAIT!!!

  22. BigMacAttack Says:

    I like the pre-season also. It gets us to the action a little sooner and I like watching the fringe guys get their shot to make it. I was all for the 18 game season because I think 2 games is really enough. I like the night games though and, especially in August when its just hot as balls. So for me too, bring on the Pre-season. I’m over-ready.

  23. Oregano Says:

    Strange that the NFL can’t simply lose the archaic blackout rule.

    The rule is based on extortion and is morally corrupt.

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