SBD/August 13, 2012/Franchises

Dolphins To Utilize New NFL Blackout Rule Despite 109 Consecutive Sellouts

The Dolphins will now need to sell only 51,128 seats to avoid a blackout
The Dolphins have “opted to utilize the NFL's new relaxed blackout rule to increase the chances of home games being shown on local television this season,” according to Craig Davis of the South Florida SUN-SENTINEL. The league has given teams the option of having games televised in their market if 85% of non-premium tickets are sold. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee on Friday said, “The thought process of why we're doing it is pretty basic; it's consistent with our philosophy over the last three years and probably longer which is to do everything possible we can to keep the games available on local television." Davis noted the Dolphins have had “109 consecutive" regular-season games on local TV. Dee said that the change “reduces the number of tickets that must be sold to lift the TV blackout by about 9,000.” While the official capacity in the 100 and 400 levels at Sun Life Stadium “is 60,500, the Dolphins this year will need to sell 51,128 of those seats" to avoid blackouts. Dee said that season-tickets sales “are on pace to eclipse last year’s total of 42,370.” Sales “picked up after the draft in April” when the Dolphins selected QB Ryan Tannehill in the first round. Dee said, “We’re very encouraged by what we’re seeing. We’re about to surpass 8,000 new season tickets” (South Florida SUN-SENTINEL, 8/11). In Miami, Armando Salguero wrote the team now has to sell 51,128 tickets 72 hours before kickoff, "rather than the 60,500 it previously had to sell for the game to be on TV.” The “manifested" capacity for Sun Life Stadium “will be 65,000 including club seat and suites.” While the team “can continue to sell all of its 75,000 tickets to fill Sun Life, only 65,000 will count as the manifested capacity.” Salguero wrote the move “suggests the Dolphins envision trouble selling seats again this year in coach Joe Philbin's first year” (MIAMIHERALD.com, 8/10).

HAPPY CAMPERS: In Charlotte, Jones & Person wrote despite the NFL’s relaxed rule on TV blackouts, the Panthers “maintain they’re happy with the longstanding policy.” Panthers President Danny Morrison said that the team “is happy with the policy and doesn’t anticipate any changes.” Morrison: “We get great fan support, 93 straight sellouts. So we felt our present policy’s working well” (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 8/11).
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