Good News, Bucs Fans: Blackouts Unlikely Thanks to Policy Change
So, maybe the suits get it after all.
At least according to Stephen Holder of the Tampa Bay Times, who—citing a report from the Wall Street Journal—explains that NFL owners recently agreed to soften their stance on television blackouts.
The "old" blackout policy required a complete sellout within 72 hours of kickoff in order for the game to be televised in its local market.
The "new" policy, however, requires as little as 85 percent of tickets to be sold instead. So, how does that impact Bucs' home games?
Well, Holder went on to explain that had the new policy been in place last season, all seven home games would have been televised.
The old policy has been the subject of public scorn and official criticism for many years, drawing the ire of fans and politicians alike.
For its part, the NFL has long maintained it was simply protecting its brand by asking fans to experience game day in person, rather than simply turning on a television and ordering a pizza.
But while there is little question the atmosphere and buzz inside of a stadium on game day is indeed a unique experience in and of itself, for many, it is simply too expensive.
Which is why the policy was in need of changing.
It was antiquated and unrelenting. Cruel, inflexible and unsympathetic.
Oh, and completely wrong.
After all, television revenue makes up a large portion of the league's total revenue during any given season.
A recent report by Fox News suggests that total to be anywhere from $3.1 to nearly $5 billion per season.
In other words, if you're paying for cable or satellite television, you are—technically—paying to watch the game anyway.
Nevertheless, I applaud the suits for finally getting it right.
The change signals a shift in compassion and understanding by the league and its owners. It appears to show that they're listening to the voices of their customers and are accommodating them when fiscally feasible.
Is the policy still flawed? Some would suggest so. After all, 85 percent may still be pushing it in certain markets.
But is it better than the one we've been subject to for the past 30-plus years?
Ask me again at the end of the season.
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