NFL TV blackouts

Bad news for NFL fans in quite a few cities. According to USA Today, at least 11 cities could be facing television blackouts during the 2010 NFL season. The economy and poor performances by several teams are the reasons for some NFL teams not being able to sell out their games.

More stadium blues: NFL TV blackouts loom in several cities

By Sean Leahy, USA TODAY
The blackout blues will be back this season for some NFL fans.

At least 11 NFL teams could be facing TV blackouts in their home markets as the NFL fights through a downward trend in stadium attendance.

A confluence of issues — including a still-struggling economy, the quality of the viewing experience in fans’ homes and sustained poor performance among some teams — have come together to keep some teams off local TV.

NFL rules require that games be blacked out in the home market if it is not sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff. The league had 22 games (8.6% of the regular season) blacked out last year, a five-year high. And the forecast for the new season is already gloomy in many markets.

“We’re grappling with the attendance issue,” said Tampa Bay Buccaneers spokesman Jonathan Grella, whose team may face its first blackout on Sunday in the opener against the Cleveland Browns. Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said as far back as March that blackouts were a strong possibility as the team rebuilds following a 3-13 season.

TV blackouts are part of a long-standing NFL policy that commissioner Roger Goodell has consistently said is not up for reconsideration.

This season, Goodell said he’s encouraged teams to get creative, even in a down economy, and offer value to fans.

Some of the cities being hit by the NFL blackout include Tampa Bay, San Diego, Detroit, Buffalo, Oakland and St. Louis.  Man was I happy to see that the Washington Redskins, despite their losing ways, have sold out all eight games 🙂

The NFL regular season starts Thursday, September 9 with the Minnesota Vikings playing the Super Bowl Champions New Orleans Saints.  My Washington Redskins will play on Sunday night, September 12 against my number one enemy, the Dallas Cowboys.  I can’t stand the Cowboys 😦

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