[dropcap][/dropcap]Having over stuffed myself at the local, All You Can Eat Golden Corral Buffet, I promptly made my way to the Man Chair. Imagine my surprise as I settled in to watch the Bucaneers vs Ravens preseason game, only to discover that it had been blacked out. According to MapQuest I live 75.89 miles from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Fl.
The NFL Blackout Rules state that games that are not sold out can be blacked out for a 75 mile range from television broadcast. The reality is that the consequences reach much farther than that, the 75 mile rule actually applies to the location of the broadcasting stations which cover areas far outside of the 75 mile range. For example I lived most of my life about 90 miles north of the Dolphins Stadium, but because the TV station that broadcasted the games was within the 75 mile range, in Palm Beach, we were subjected to game blackouts. I drove home illegally, on many Sunday afternoons, having to go to a local bar and watch the games on Satellite TV’s while being force fed 2 for 1’s and choking down .25 cent oysters (poor me).
I can hear some of you now, if the Dolphins would just sell more tickets that wouldn’t be a problem. While I understand that to be a FACT, it’s not going to change, unless the fans stop wearing there Orange Jumpsuits to the games. In my opinion the state should not have 3 football teams, this another story altogether.
Besides being a pain in the butt for me personally, I believe that the blackout rule hurts NFL football in the long run. The theory behind the rule is that more people will actually go to the game, Hogwash. How do people become fans? By watching them on television, I hope you didn’t Fail that test.
[dropcap][/dropcap]I equate it to Boxing. As I was growing up there were great, televised boxing matches. Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, and George Foreman were household names, why you ask, because the fights were on television for everyone to see for free. The result was, the sport became huge and very popular, but guess what happened? The lure of the all mighty dollar caused some fat cats to decide that the sport was so popular that they would Blackout the fights and make everybody pay to watch them. The result is that new fans are no longer being created and the sport is not even a shadow of what it once was.
My point here is that by blacking out games men go golfing, fishing, or heaven forbid, honey do’s and the chance of the NFL creating a new fan is gone. I became a football fan before I was 10 years old and at 12 watched all of the 1972 Dolphin games, I’ve been hooked for life, (I see what you did there, Dolphins hooked). How many young boys , potential long term fans, are being forced to do something else because of blackouts.
I’m not even going to go into, okay yes I will. The internet has changed everything. Last night, after discovering the preseason game blacked out, I watched the Bucs get beat by the Crows on my home computer, for free, how is that working for the NFL?
Last season the NFL loosened up the rules to allow the teams to broadcast the games if they had sold 85% of the tickets by 72 hours before the game, I do not know if that rule has been extended. It’s time that the NFL stop punishing fans (Blackmailing) that may live over 100 miles from the stadiums and get rid of the blackouts they are bad for the longevity of the sport.
Written By: 1fishfan72