SBD/Issue 236/Franchises

Perenially Sold Out Texans Have Tickets Remaining For Opener

Could Texans Be Heading To A Blackout
For First Time In Franchise History?
While the Texans have "sold out every home game in the franchise's history," the team could be "heading into the dreaded NFL blackout territory," according to Jerome Solomon of the HOUSTON CHRONICLE. One would "think the Texans might be the hottest ticket in town ... with 2 1/2 weeks left before the 2009 season begins," but tickets remain available for the September 13 Jets-Texans opener at Reliant Stadium. However, Texans President Jamey Rootes said blackouts are "not an issue" for the team. Rootes: "There are seats we hold back and release slowly in the marketplace. That is what you're seeing" (HOUSTON CHRONICLE, 8/26).

BLACKOUTS SELF-DEFEATING: ESPN.com's Tim Keown wrote the NFL's blackout rule "has always struck me as one of the more self-defeating ideas in the marketplace." Keown: "By withholding local television coverage in markets that don't sell out games, the NFL employs a passive form of blackmail: Go to the game, or miss it altogether." In the current economic climate, can the NFL "expect fans in Detroit and Oakland and St. Louis to continue to support terrible teams run by terrible organizations if they punish them for refusing to pay inflated prices to see an inferior product?" But NFL Dir of Corporate Communications Dan Masonson said the league's blackout policy is "not changing," and officials "haven't had any discussions about changing it." Masonson: "It's been a successful policy long-term. ... We've worked with teams to address the current economic situation by creating some variable pricing plans. We're working with them on flexibility and options. Some teams are allowing fans to pay for season tickets on installment plans" (ESPN.com, 8/25).

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE: In Orlando, Mike Bianchi wrote the possibility that the Jaguars' eight home games "will likely be blacked out this season" is "good news for Orlando," which has been designated as a Jaguars market. Orlando's WKMG-CBS is "required to carry the Jags when they are not blacked out," and station VP & GM Skip Valet said the blackouts "will certainly open up our options." Valet: "My responsibility is to give our viewers the best games possible, and the Jaguars have not always been our most popular team despite the geographic proximity. ... If you're an NFL fan in Orlando and not a Jaguars fan, this is good news. If you're a Jags fan, this isn't good news" (ORLANDO SENTINEL, 8/22).

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