NFL Won’t Budge On Blackouts

July 16th, 2009
Joe is beginning to wonder if more members of the fourth estate attended Super Bowl Media Day at the CITS than will attend Bucs home games this season.

Joe is beginning to wonder if more members of the fourth estate attended Super Bowl Media Day at the CITS than fans at Bucs home games this season.

There have been whispers from scribes that maybe, with the rotten economy and a number of NFL teams struggling to sell tickets, just maybe, the NFL will relax the blackout rules so fans won’t get jammed in not seeing their favorite home teams.

Fat chance, apparently.

Paul Kuharsky of writes that not only have the lords of the NFL scoffed at any suggestion, that unless something dramatically changes in the next few weeks, the Bucs preseason game at Jacksonville will be blacked out in north Florida.

The league has always held firmly to its television blackout rule and there are no indications anything will change this season. If you haven’t met Park Avenue’s definition of a sellout, your game isn’t broadcast in your home market.

This could mean a rocky season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, who’ve only sold 35,000 to 40,000 season tickets so far.

Games on TV are the single-biggest marketing tool an NFL club has. When a team doesn’t have them, its marketing efforts are akin to a swim against a strong current.

That means if you aren’t at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium for Jaguars-Buccaneers or Jaguars-Redskins in August, your only chance to see those games is if you catch eventual rebroadcasts of the Tampa Bay and Washington telecasts on NFL Network.

The Jacksonville folks are so certain the Jags preseason games won’t be sold out, the local Jacksonville TV station that owns the rights to preseason games isn’t even bothering to produce the home games.

Joe has two thoughts:

1) That’s absolute bush league the NFL would blackout a lousy exhibition game. C’mon Goodell, you guys can’t be that low to be such money grubbing scums.

2) The way the Bucs are begging people to buy tickets, Joe wonders if both home preseason games in Tampa will also be blacked out? 

But before Bucs fans begin panicking, relax. The NFL Network is coming to the rescue. The NFL Network is scheduled to rebroadcast all preseason games in HD. Also, WFLA-TV Channel 8, the Bucs preseason flagship, could show the games on tape delay.

Thank god for the NFL Network!

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