There were only two regular season TV blackouts in the NFL this season. That’s a great stat and one the league and stadiums should be proud of. None of that matters, though, now that the playoffs are starting and the threat of blackouts for 75 percent of the games are a possibility.
If you live in Cincinnati, Green Bay, and Indianapolis, the chance for you to cheer on your team from your sofa may not happen. As of this writing, both Green Bay and Indianapolis have about 5,500 tickets left to sale, while Cincinnati has around 8,000 tickets.
And Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio doesn’t like the idea of you missing a game.
“Sports fans make significant financial investments in their home teams through local, county, and other taxes and should not be denied access to a local game because they cannot afford tickets,” he wrote in a letter to Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. “The current blackout policy does not serve taxpayers, sports fans, or networks.”
The NFL feels differently.
“We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago,” Brian McCarthy, a vice president at the NFL, told CNN. “While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds.”
Brown’s and McCarthy’s comments raise some good questions, and we would love to know how you feel about TV blackouts. Of course we support venue managers and their goal of creating a great live experience. But are TV blackouts still helping to meet that goal? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.
Update: Indianapolis has until 4:30 p.m. today to sell 3,000 tickets, and Cincinnati has until 4 p.m. to sell 3,500 tickets. Green Bay also has until 4 p.m. today to sell 3,000 tickets.