Posted Wed Sep 9th by Monty
Broncos fans hoping to throw a season kickoff party in Ohio may have to make other plans.
According to Joe Reedy of the Cincinnati Enquirer, as many as six NFL games could be blacked out in local markets this weekend, in accordance with the league’s long-standing home sellout rule.
The Denver Broncos regular season opener at the Cincinnati Bengals is one of them.
The magic number of unsold tickets isn’t encouraging, either. Reedy reports that 5,000 tickets need to be sold within “about 24 hours” (as of 12:27 p.m. Wednesday local time) for the Bengals to avoid their first blackout in five seasons.
A blackout would affect the local Ohio markets, not allowing viewers from home to enjoy their team’s season opener.
Broncos fans in Colorado and most other areas would not be affected. Broncos fans in and around Cincinnati would.
Often times (as is the case, oh, about twice a month for our friends in San Diego), the NFL will extend the ticket deadline by as much as 72 hours, allowing last-minute patrons to help their home team’s games appear on local TV. The networks distributing the games on local television have also been known to bite the bullet and purchase the remaining tickets themselves, an investment made to avoid losing valuable advertising dollars.
This season, pundits expect quite a few more blackouts than years past. Roger Goodell recently said the league is prepared to see as many as twelve teams experience blackouts this NFL season. The Jacksonville Jaguars are particularly under this microscope; some analysts expect Jags fans will be blacked out for all eight regular season home games this year.
The economic climate is most easily to blame; the NFL isn’t budging in its long-standing policy. Many criticize this decision, hoping for some leniency in these tough economic times, but they may fail to realize that this string of sellout success has only really come in the last five to ten years. Blackouts were actually common in many local markets in the nineties and prior, and only in the 2000′s or so did the league really begin to enjoy a high percentage (above 90%) of sellouts.
Of course, not selling out any of your home games certainly doesn’t speak well for the long-term future of a team, in any particular market. Better go win some games, David Garrard.
Interestingly, the Broncos, who are enjoying a streak of 301 consecutive home sellouts that has been running for nearly forty years, aren’t immune to this economic turbulence. Fret not — the team’s home games have all been already designated as sellouts this season (no blackouts for local Broncos fans), but club and luxury suite tickets are still available for the team’s home opener against the Cleveland Browns next week. Sales for premium seating are not included in the league’s revenue sharing, and are not accounted for in determining sellouts/blackouts.
It’ll be a shame if Ohioans won’t be able to see the Broncos thrash the Bengals this Sunday. It’ll be worse for the tens of thousands of them that are Broncos fans.