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SBD/Issue 244/Leagues & Governing Bodies
NFL TV Rights Holders Not Concerned About Potential Blackouts
Published September 9, 2009
|Billick Feels NFL Needs To Hold
Hard Line On Blackout Policy
SHED SOME LIGHT: SI.com's Peter King wrote the NFL "shouldn't be so hardened about the blackout rule." The greater Detroit area currently has a 29% unemployment rate, and it is "unrealistic to expect that Detroit ... fill a 64,500-seat stadium regularly." King: "I wouldn't lift the blackout entirely this year, because once the genie's out of the bottle, it's going to be hard to get it back in. But I would say it would be a grand gesture for the league to give the truly deserving franchises a couple of games with home TV for non-sellouts" (SI.com, 9/7). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell should "lift those television blackouts -- and let the people of Detroit watch the Lions." In a city with a "wheezing automotive industry and a jobless rate near 30[%], people need diversions." Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue lifted the blackout rule in New Orleans in '05 following Hurricane Katrina, and Goodell similarly should "waive it now." Sandomir: "Why stick rigidly to a policy made for better times? Relax it this season and revisit it next year." If the league does not lift the policy, it should at least "stream the blacked-out games on nfl.com or let local stations replay the blacked-out games on Monday mornings" (N.Y. TIMES, 9/5). In Oakland, Monte Poole writes if "ever a time was right to suspend for at least a year the blackout rule ... it's when we're choking on horrible economic conditions." Poole: "Presented a grand opportunity to extend a goodwill gesture, to serve the community at minimum cost, the NFL shrugs and counts its cash" (OAKLAND TRIBUNE, 9/9).
Jaguars Owner Weaver Believes
Games Will Be Blacked Out
FEELING THE PINCH: ESPN.com's Len Pasquarelli noted despite its "preeminent status, the NFL has learned a difficult lesson from the current lagging economy: The league simply isn't recession-proof." It was once a "touchstone for companies to attach themselves to the NFL and its nonpareil brand name," but those companies are "revisiting the viability of those decisions." Several factors, including the current economy, have "combined to force the NFL, while still financially healthy, to market its product with greater gusto," because the league that "once sold itself now is finding that it is a much tougher sell." To the fans, it is "not enough anymore to simply stage the games," and the league now "talks increasingly about the 'Sunday experience'" (ESPN.com, 9/8).