Blackout Rule Shouldn’t Fluster BucsJuly 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.