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Up to 12 NFL Teams Facing Blackouts in 2009

There is a report floating around that at an owners meeting in August, the month not the blogger, a video show was shown of 10 to 12 NFL teams that could be facing blackouts this season.  In case you don't know, NFL teams have their games blacked out in local markets if said game isn't sold out 72 hours before kickoff.  Last season only three teams, the Lions, Rams and Raiders had games blacked out and only 9 games total were blacked out between the three.

Obviously the NFL is in danger of having a lot more than 9 games blackedout this season, especially when you consider that the Jaguars will probably end up with all 8 of their home games blacked out.  So what is worse than not being able to afford your season tickets in this economic downturn?  Not being able to watch your team play because there were a lot of other people who like you just couldn't justify spending that money on football tickets.

The NFL needs to tweak their policy to account for the way the economy is right now, but in true NFL fashion, there will be no tweak:

"There is no consideration being given to amending the blackout policy," wrote NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, in an e-mail. "The policy is important in supporting the ability of the clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds so we can keep all our games on free TV."

What does that even mean?

I seriously doubt there are very many fans who, all other things being equal, would decide to stay at home and watch the game instead of buying a ticket.  Sure, the NFL games on TV are done really well, but there is still nothing like being there to cheer your team on in person.  People aren't sitting at home because they would rather be there.  They are staying at home because they can't afford to go to a game.

You always get the line from these professional leagues that they are all about the fan, well it is time for the NFL to prove it.  They either have to bring the blackout rule down to say 85-90% sold out, or the owners need to cut ticket prices to help people be able to afford going to the games. 

Now I understand that is not a good business policy because if you do it once some people will hold out next season because they think you will do the same thing, so make it clear that this is a one season deal to counter what is going on in the economy.  That really would be the win, win (win) situation for everyone.  The fans win because they can go to the games or watch it on TV, and the owners win because at least that way they are getting some of the money from a ticket being sold.

It is times like these that make me even more proud to be a part of a fanbase that has been able to sell out every single game that has been played in it's city!