SBD/Issue 238/Leagues & Governing Bodies

Several NFL Teams Could Face Local TV Blackouts This Season

Vikings Still Have Plenty Of Tickets To 
Sell, Despite Acquisition Of Brett Favre
At least four NFL teams this season “face potential local TV blackouts of their home games because they have not sold enough tickets,” according to league sources cited by Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. Other sources estimated that the number “could be as high as eight clubs,” although “several of those teams are likely to find ways to secure sellouts.” In addition to the Vikings, who have “about 7,000 season tickets still available,” the Chargers and Jaguars also are “having trouble selling tickets.” Maske notes the list “also could include” the Raiders, 49ers, Lions, Rams and Bengals. Last season, 247 of 256 regular-season games -- 96% -- “aired in the local market of the home team,” and that figure has been above 95% since the ’05 season. But NFL sources indicated that “locally generated revenue may be down for some clubs this year.” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said teams are “still in the middle of selling” tickets. He added, “There are challenges out there, but I think our clubs are responding very well. We’ve still got a few more good weeks of selling.” Sources said that “teams in strong markets have had to work harder than usual in some cases but have experienced few major problems selling tickets.” One NFL team owner said, “If you’re in a good market, you most likely did okay. The NFL is still a good buy. But there are a few markets out there that aren’t very good, and I think they’re having some problems” (WASHINGTON POST, 8/28).

BUCKING A TREND: In St. Petersburg, Justin George reports the Buccaneers are "facing slow ticket sales for the first time since Raymond James Stadium opened in 1998." The team has "sold out regularly" in recent years, but tickets remain for the team's regular-season home opener on September 13 against the Cowboys. The Buccaneers in response have "taken the unprecedented steps of offering season ticket buyers monthly payment plans, seats that don't require deposits or long-term contracts and $32.50 upper level tickets for children." The team's Web site also is "advertising half-season packages that range" between $260-325 per seat (ST. PETERSBURG TIMES, 8/28).

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