SBD/Issue 73/Leagues & Governing Bodies

NFL TV Blackouts Up From '09, But Not By As Much As Some Feared

About 10% of NFL games this season "have been blacked out on local television in the home team's market, a figure that's up from last year but not as high as league officials said entering the season they feared," according to Mark Maske of the WASHINGTON POST. The NFL noted that there "have been 23 television blackouts in the local market of the home team in 224 total games league-wide through 15 weeks of this season." That 10.3% blackout rate is "up from 8.9 percent through 15 weeks of last season, when 20 of 224 games had been blacked out." Only six of 224 games, or 2.7%, "were blacked out through 15 weeks of the 2008 season." NFL officials entering this season said that "they feared that as much as 20 percent of games would be blacked out this year" (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 12/23). The 23 blackouts through Week 15 are the "most since there were 30 in 2004" (Minneapolis STAR TRIBUNE, 12/28).

Jaguars Avoided TV Blackouts This Season
After Selling Out Just One Game In '09

CAT SCRATCH FEVER: In Jacksonville, Vito Stellino noted the Jaguars avoided a TV blackout "for every game this season," just one year after "all but one home game was blacked out on TV and speculation was rampant that the team was heading to Los Angeles." As a result of the sellouts, the "perception of the team has changed." Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver said, "The national press is all of [a] sudden recognizing us as an ascending football team." Stellino noted how the Jaguars "turned it around is a complicated story that started with Mayor John Peyton, who convened a group of civic and business leaders last year to brainstorm ways to help sell tickets." Another "key ingredient was the innovative pricing plans put together by the Jaguars, plans that are now being copied by other teams" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 12/26). But in Dallas, Rick Gosselin noted NFL fans "aren't coming in droves and filling the league coffers like they once did," a "cautionary note to the NFL owners and players as they head down the stretch toward either a contract settlement or lockout." The Buccaneers are "averaging only 49,705 this season" at Raymond James Stadium, which seats 65,908. Similarly, the Raiders have "had crowds in the 30,000s this season, Detroit has been in the 40,000s and Buffalo the very low 50,000s" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 12/26).

ROGER THAT: USA TODAY's Jon Saraceno in a cover story noted since Roger Goodell replaced Paul Tagliabue as NFL Commissioner in '06, he has "embraced his job with a forceful yet collaborative management style, aimed at resolving conflicts and tackling controversial issues head-on." Goodell, the "architect of the NFL's controversial crackdown on gratuitous on-field violence, hasn't been intimidated by change, he has embraced it." Panthers Owner Jerry Richardson said that "he 'lectured' the commissioner two weeks ago about his rigorous schedule and self-demands." Richardson said, "He is driven. He has a lot of self-discipline -- 10 on a scale of 1 to 10. My worry is that ... he will burn himself out. It's in my best interest, and the owners', that he pace himself" (USA TODAY, 12/27).

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