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CHARGERS: Bolts will pass on new blackout rule

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by DenverBolt67, Jul 6, 2012.

  1. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

    Jan 24, 2010

    July 03, 2012 7:45 pm • BY SCOTT BAIR sbair@nctimes.com

    SAN DIEGO ---- The NFL has a new rule that allows each team to relax the local television blackout standard.
    The Chargers will decline that option.
    Teams taking advantage of an offer to drop the blackout-lifting level from 100 percent of general tickets sold to as low as 85 percent 72 hours prior to kickoff must do so by July 15.
    While it sounds like a slam dunk on the surface, easing the blackout policy comes with consequences too severe for the Chargers to accept.
    Teams can't pick and choose when they drop the blackout level. Doing so would drop it for the season, and come with a significant financial penalty.
    If the manifest ---- a base level for tickets sold ---- was dropped to 85 percent, for example, every ticket sold beyond that would be subject to a greater share with the visiting team. Those tickets sold above the manifest percentage are subject to a 50-50 split. According to the Buffalo News, that would be a 16 percent increase because NFL visiting teams currently receive 34 percent of each sold ticket.
    That's a bigger deal for a team such as the Chargers, which needs people moving turnstiles more than most.
    "We're in one of the oldest stadiums in the league, and don't have opportunities that other teams have to increase revenue with things like a bigger naming rights deal or digital signage," executive vice president and CEO A.G. Spanos said. "We rely heavily on ticket sales as a primary revenue stream. This market has shown an ability to sell out games over the last 10 years, and we need to take advantage of that.
    "It might be different if the policy was flexible, but it's not."
    The Chargers have had just six blackouts since 2004, all within the past two seasons. The team had four blackouts in 2010 and two in 2011 ---- against the Miami Dolphins and Buffalo Bills ---- bucking a strong sell-out trend. The team lifted blackouts for 48 straight regular season and postseason games during a period of on-field success.
    The Chargers obviously hope to sell out every game, as much to generate revenue and game-time excitement as to avoid the public relations backlash associated with a local television blackout.
    "We're doing everything possible to avoid those situations," Spanos said. "This market can support a full season of sellouts, and we're trying to add value to season ticket packages and get fans involved for the entire slate of games."
    Spanos said the team's season-ticket total is lower than where it was last year at this time, but he's optimistic that it will be equal to 2011 when the season rolls around. The Chargers are trying to make game-day experience more fan friendly, and say they have added several perks to being a season ticket holder. Sean ticket-holders can watch private training camp practices, receive stadium tours, get on conference calls with team personnel and win a trip to attend a future Super Bowl.
    The Chargers believe those efforts can help sell out every game, negating the need to drop the manifest percentage and sacrifice the revenue associated with such a move.
    "We've been able to lift blackouts most every week for the past eight to 10 years," Spanos said. "We believe our manifest is right where it should be and that we can sell these games out."

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