New NFL TV Blackout Rule Not Having The Desired Affect Fans Were Looking For
The new NFL policy allowing teams to avoid a blackout if at least 85% of their non-premium seats are sold “has not become the panacea that many fans were seeking,” according to Gene Warner of the BUFFALO NEWS. It has become “a complex issue -- and a potential public-relations eyesore -- for many smaller-market teams.” So much so that “most teams opting out of the policy have tried to keep their intentions low-key, often avoiding news conferences on the issue.” The Bills, Browns, Colts, Jaguars and Chargers “all have opted out of the relaxed blackout policy.” Buffalo Fan Alliance President Matt Sabuda said, "I completely understand the Bills' decision, and I think they made the absolutely right choice. The way this policy was written, it was a lose-lose for the Buffalo Bills." Warner noted the policy “wouldn't have prevented blackouts for tough-to-sell late-season games in Ralph Wilson Stadium, especially when the winter wind is howling and the Bills could be out of playoff contention.” Team officials have said that only one of the Bills' last six blacked-out home games “would have reached the 85 percent threshold, and most of those games fell far below that figure.” Bills CEO Russ Brandon on Monday said that the new policy, if adopted by the team, would have “forced the team to give back 16 percent of any ticket revenue above the 51,000-ticket mark for any game.” Brandon said, "We believe that we have to roll up our sleeves and try to sell every ticket in the building. That's how we have gone about it in the past, with excellent success, and that's how we will go about it in the future" (BUFFALO NEWS, 8/14).