Friday, August 7, 2009

A local NFL blackout may be coming your way

NFL fans, beware!

Television blackouts may soon be coming to your area for your home team.

If you are a fan of teams such as the Washington Redskins or Green Bay Packers, it’s no problem. Your team’s home games will be sold out (and not blacked out) for generations to come.
But in front-runner cities such as San Diego, TV blackouts may be on their way.

Jim Steeg, chief operating officer of the San Diego Chargers, said as much this week to

“Yes, local television blackouts are a definite possibility,” said Steeg. “Our goal right now is to make everyone aware that tickets are still available and that, at this point at least, blackouts are likely.

“It appears that both preseason home games (against Seattle and San Francisco) will be blacked out. Hopefully the knowledge that most home games likely will not be shown locally will spur additional fans to join us at the stadium. Our players want to play in a full stadium, and we want all of our fans to be able to watch all of our games on TV.”
There are issues:

First of all – and most of all – the nation’s economy is still hurting. People aren’t going to rush out to buy tickets primarily ranging from $74 to $98 to ensure someone else can watch the game on TV.

Local Native American casinos and TV stations – which have stepped up to the plate in recent years to buy tickets and ensure sellouts – just don’t have the funds to do so in this economic climate. Last year, TV bought out remaining tickets three times so games could be seen locally.

Charger fans are front-runners, anyhow. In the team’s only Super Bowl season (1994), the first home game vs. the Cincinnati Bengals was 10,000 seats short of a sellout.

The NFL could make an exception and televise all games locally in this down economy. But the chances of that happening are about as likely as the Oakland Raiders winning the Super Bowl this season.


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