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The Government may have to again force the NFL to change!

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Concudan, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Some more ‘seasoned’ football fans might remember the bad old days of the NFL, when, prior to 1973 home games would not be televised locally regardless of if the game sold out, or not.

    This included championship games. Super Bowls were not available in the cities they were played in. Based on today’s standards that was a backwards and self deprecating policy the NFL had in place. Why was it in place? Status quo, tradition, good ole boys said so…

    Allow me to highlight a brief history of then NFL which led to the creation of the Blackout; The NFL first broadcasted one of their games in the late '30s, at that time however, the television deals were locally handled and inconsistent. In 1950, the Los Angeles Rams and the Washington Redskins became the first teams to broadcast all of their games on television, which included home games.

    Even though the Rams were a very good team, with star players like Bob Waterfield and Norm Van Brocklin, attendance figures dropped by 110,000 compared to the home games from the previous season.

    This resulted in the owners believing that a blackout policy of all home games was necessary to keep the fans going to the stadiums. The NFL instituted a league-wide blackout policy, which had all home games being blacked out in their local market regardless of if the game was sold out or not. This in turn was challenged in court by the Justice Department. The NFL won a victory in federal court in 1953 affirming the blackout policy, and it was the policy that was still in place when the NFL was again challenged in January of 1971.

    To further the divide between the owners of the teams and the local market fans, then NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle pushed the concept that a local blackout of the Super Bowl was necessary, even though all the tickets had been sold, because any adverse weather could cause ticket holders to stay home and watch the game. He based this theory in part on Super Bowl I, which was played in Los Angeles and did not sell out

    The real challenge process started in 1972, when in December Attorney General Richard Kleindienst ended a series of meetings between himself and Pete Rozelle about changing the league's policy of blacking out home games. Kleindienst publicly stated at the end of these meetings that the administration would seek legislation that would force the league to end this practice.

    September 6, 1973 in a 76-6 vote, the U.S. Senate moves to ban television blackouts of professional sport games that sell out 72 hours or more before the event.

    September 10 the Communications Sub-Committee of the Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives approves a bill to ban television blackouts of professional sport games that sell out 72 hours or more before the event.
    September 13 the NFL repeals its blackout policy. The U.S. House of Representatives approves the Communications Sub-Committee bill with a 336-37 vote.

    So the government was forced (largely because the senators and congressmen in Washington D.C. did not get to see the Redskins play without going to the game) to make the NFL rethink its policies, by imposing a 72 hour deadline for game sell outs. If a game sold out the NFL was be required to televise the home game to its fans in the local market.

    The NFL has steadfastly held to its blackout policy, with only a few exceptions: In 2005, the NFL lifted the blackout policies for the New Orleans Saints. This was due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina. Other than that, there has been no further give than what the power brokers in Washington forced in the early 70’s, nearly 40 years ago.

    If the owners collectively cannot bring themselves to change the archaic, and backwards black out policy, that limits the fans access to the product, the Government may again step in. The NFL pays the fan lip service, but if you can’t afford a ticket they are not interested in you. It is great you buy the NFL gear, and play fantasy football, by the Madden games and all, but if you are not sitting in their stadiums the NFL could care less about you.

    The Government could get involved again because the status quo in the NFL hasn’t changed: Recently Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) wrote a letter to NFL commissioner asking the NFL to reconsider its blackout policy, which could affect several teams this season.

    “During these difficult times, working families are struggling to make ends meet,” Brown reportedly said. “Although appealing, attending a football game is simply cost prohibitive for too many Ohioans. The average price for an NFL game ticket is $77 – nearly ten times the hourly minimum wage. The problem will only become worse, as 18 teams have increased ticket prices for the upcoming 2010 season.”
    (Source: QUICK KICK: Sen. Sherrod Brown calls upcoming NFL Blackouts “deeply troubling” | Sports Fans Coalition, Inc.)

    I find it hard to believe that with today’s proliferation of NFL merchandise that the NFL is not better served by getting their product out to as wide an audience as possible. Do the tinkers of the NFL really believe that the average Jacksonville fan will buy NFL products if they only get to watch their team when it is traveling elsewhere? Is it just me or does that seem to generate a detachment between the local team and the local fan?

    It seems that the League is more interested in building Taj Mahal stadiums like the one in Dallas, with even more seats requiring to be sold to lift a blackout rather than find ways to get the product to the larger audience. Further the NFL is becoming more an more expensive. Teams want to keep up with the Joneses, (the Jerry Joneses) and the common fan is being priced out of the game.

    Bigger stadiums are the current craze, San Diego is being pressed by the NFL to build a new stadium with more luxury boxes because it would be better for the Super Bowl. Now San Diego could use a new stadium, but at what cost? More seats, high ticket sales requirements to lift a blackout? Many cities are in danger of having their local games blacked out to the local fans.

    Further, the NFL allows a radius of 75-mile radius of the stadium to be its ‘local’ area. This has been interpreted to also mean that the local market includes the markets who’s broadcast range penetrates into that 75 mile radius.

    Add on to that 75-ish mile radius the addition of secondary markets, and the area of blackout coverage can grow exponentially. This is not a fan friendly policy by any stretch of the imagination. It seems to reward the out of town fans while punishing the local fans who might not be able to afford to take their family of 4 to a 3 hour game that could run them close to $400.

    Add on top of that the looming lockout, and feuds over the billions of dollars generated by the NFL and you could really start to dislike the American sport. Greed and lack of empathy run rampant amongst the owners and players alike, the fans are the little people.

    The NFL and the NFLPA need to stop, and review what they have, and what they stand to lose. Perhaps they believe they can ignore the fans, and simply take as much money from them as possible. It worked for some of the kings of old France… that is until the guillotine became popular.
     
  2. Trumpet_Man

    Trumpet_Man Well-Known Member

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    The only way to get the NFL to budge on anything takes Congress to repeal or feign that they will repeal the anti-trust exemption granted the league.
     
  3. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Yes that is the big hammer. The fans are the other. If the fans stop buying the tickets then the NFL will have to remember them. The latter is most likely impossible.
     
  4. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    and on the flip side the Padres cannot get people into the stands even though they are in a Pennant race. Do you think if they took the Padres off of Cox Ch 4 more people would attend those home games instead of staying at home watching them for free?
     
  5. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    Nope.

    Baseball is FAR more territorial. Using last night as an example, no one in SD could watch the game on ESPN because Channel 4 claimed exclusivity. That meant Dish, DirecTV & AT&T Uverse subscribers were shut out. Channel 4sd will most likely appear on those systems next season thanks to a ruling by the FCC.
     
  6. sdbound

    sdbound Well-Known Member

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    “During these difficult times, working families are struggling to make ends meet,” Brown reportedly said. “Although appealing, attending a football game is simply cost prohibitive for too many Ohioans. The average price for an NFL game ticket is $77 – nearly ten times the hourly minimum wage. The problem will only become worse, as 18 teams have increased ticket prices for the upcoming 2010 season.”

    Just raise the minimum wage to $77/hr. Polititians are so stupid.
     
  7. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    Bucs: Browns game will be blacked out | Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog: Bucs Beat | tampabay.com & St. Petersburg Times

     
  8. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    :lol:
     
  9. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    How have you been Ray?! Welcome back, enjoy the season!
     
  10. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    I can understand the need for some type of blackout rules.... but maybe they could reduce the attendance figure to 80% of the stadium capacity. I think there's something to be said for not televising home games if it affects the attendance. But, I also think that in economically bad times, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to be a bit more compassionate to those who really need to watch football to get their minds off their financial woes. I'm sure the NFL won't be losing any money.
     
  11. Ray Dahayder

    Ray Dahayder BoltTalker

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    Thank you..... It's the most wonderful time.... of the year...... (and I ain't talkin' Christmas).
     
  12. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Ohio senator Sherrod Brown: NFL should shelve TV blackout policy
    Ohio senator Sherrod Brown: NFL should shelve TV blackout policy - The Huddle: Football News from the NFL - USATODAY.com

    Ohio senator Sherrod Brown called on NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to revisit the league's policy on TV blackouts on Thursday.

    Brown called the specter of blackouts this season "deeply troubling" and said the NFL should consider relaxing its TV rules as the country continues to battle through a recession.

    The Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday announced the league's first TV blackout for their home opener against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. NFL rules require games that fail to sell out within 72 hours of kickoff be blacked out within 75 miles of the home market.

    Goodell defended the blackout policy this week as good for the league as USA TODAY reported that as many as 11 teams -- including the Cincinnati Bengals -- could face them this season.

    "During these difficult times, working families are struggling to make ends meet," Brown said. "Although appealing, attending a football game is simply cost prohibitive for too many Ohioans. The average price for an NFL game ticket is $77 – nearly ten times the hourly minimum wage. The problem will only become worse, as 18 teams have increased ticket prices for the upcoming 2010 season."

    There were 22 blackouts last season, a five-year high that was up from nine the previous season.

    -- Sean Leahy
     
  13. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    More stadium blues: NFL TV blackouts loom in several cities
    More stadium blues: NFL TV blackouts loom in several cities - USATODAY.com

    By Sean Leahy, USA TODAY
    The blackout blues will be back this season for some NFL fans.

    At least 11 NFL teams could be facing TV blackouts in their home markets as the NFL fights through a downward trend in stadium attendance.

    A confluence of issues — including a still-struggling economy, the quality of the viewing experience in fans' homes and sustained poor performance among some teams — have come together to keep some teams off local TV.

    NFL rules require that games be blacked out in the home market if it is not sold out 72 hours prior to kickoff. The league had 22 games (8.6% of the regular season) blacked out last year, a five-year high. And the forecast for the new season is already gloomy in many markets.

    TEAM BY TEAM: Blackout forecast for every NFL city
    STADIUM VS. LIVING ROOM: NFL fights to lure fans out to ballparks

    "We're grappling with the attendance issue," said Tampa Bay Buccaneers spokesman Jonathan Grella, whose team may face its first blackout on Sunday in the opener against the Cleveland Browns. Buccaneers co-chairman Joel Glazer said as far back as March that blackouts were a strong possibility as the team rebuilds following a 3-13 season.

    TV blackouts are part of a long-standing NFL policy that commissioner Roger Goodell has consistently said is not up for reconsideration.

    This season, Goodell said he's encouraged teams to get creative, even in a down economy, and offer value to fans.

    "We worked hard last year knowing what our customers are going through," Goodell said. "I think the teams have done a terrific job on that.

    "I'm optimistic that we're going to be able to hopefully improve that number (of 22 blackouts in 2009)."

    Last year's blackouts were confined to five teams, all of which had losing records: the Jacksonville Jaguars (seven blackouts, seven wins); Detroit Lions (four blackouts, two wins); Kansas City Chiefs (one blackout, four wins); Oakland Raiders (seven blackouts, five wins); and St. Louis Rams (three blackouts, one win).

    This season, the window for blackouts could include three 2009 playoff teams, the Arizona Cardinals, the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers.

    Last year the Buccaneers took advantage of blackout loophole by which teams can buy back unsold tickets at a reduced rate in order for the game to air locally. This season, Grella said the team won't do that.

    For games to be on TV, Grella said, "people need to understand that it's not a given."

    In New York, both the Giants and Jets have encountered issues selling all of the season tickets they made available via personal seat licenses at the new Meadowlands stadium. But both teams have ruled out blackouts, and could take advantage of the buyback option if the need arose.

    While the economy looms as a factor in all markets, the causes of TV blackout concerns vary from city to city. Cincinnati is a relatively small market. Arizona lost its star quarterback, Kurt Warner, to retirement and isn't projected to perform as well on the field. San Diego, while fielding a competitive team, also offers fans a myriad of other activities along the southern California coast.

    "Some to the more challenging markets have been these good-weather markets," sports business analyst Marc Ganis said. "There are so many alternate things to do on weekends."

    Poor performance is also a factor. The Detroit Lions have had nine blackouts over the past two seasons while winning a total of two games. The Kansas City Chiefs, in the midst of a 10-38 three-year stretch, had their first blackout since 1990 last year.

    Some of the blackout-susceptible teams lack the established base built over decades in cities such as Pittsburgh and Chicago. In places such as Jacksonville and Arizona, where the population has swelled in recent decades, fans can be fickle with their support.

    "That does not allow the roots of the teams to have taken hold as they have in other markets where teams have been for multiple generations," Ganis said.

    But all teams are taking note of the potential problems concerning attendance, even as the league projects a drop off in ticket sales for the third consecutive year. As the technology for watching games at home has exploded with the advent of HD television and mobile content, Goodell has prioritized teams finding new innovations to lure fans out to the stadiums.

    The Baltimore Ravens have sold out every game since moving from Cleveland in 1996, but team president Dick Cass said he doesn't expect fans will continue that streak merely out of loyalty to the team.

    "It doesn't mean we'll be sold out two or three years from now," Cass said. "You have to work at that. It doesn't happen by happenstance."

    Many fans complain that the blackout policy is unfair, especially in cities hard-hit by the recession. But Ganis said the policy "makes great sense" for the NFL as it seeks to drive fans into its stadiums.

    "It creates home field advantage, creates great theater," Ganis said. "To offer an incentive not to buy tickets to the games would be counterproductive to the league's overall goals."

    ***

    2010 NFL TV blackouts forecast: Survey of all 32 teams:

    Arizona Cardinals: Can't rule out blackouts.

    Atlanta Falcons: No blackouts expected.

    Baltimore Ravens: Sold out all eight games.

    Buffalo Bills: Have sold out three games. Can't rule out blackouts.

    Carolina Panthers: Have sold out two games. Can't rule out blackouts.

    Chicago Bears: No blackouts expected.

    Cincinnati Bengals: Hoping to extend 53-game sellout streak but can't rule out blackouts.

    Cleveland Browns: No blackouts expected.

    Dallas Cowboys: No blackouts expected.

    Denver Broncos: Sold out all eight games.

    Detroit Lions: Did not respond to survey, but blackouts are possible. Had four blackouts last year and five in 2008.

    Green Bay Packers: Sold out all eight games.

    Houston Texans: No blackouts expected.

    Indianapolis Colts: Sold out all eight games.

    Jacksonville Jaguars: Optimistic first four games will sell out, but can't rule out blackouts. Had seven blackouts last year.

    Kansas City Chiefs: Opener sold out and optimistic all eight games will be. Can't rule out blackouts. Had one blackout last year.

    Miami Dolphins: No blackouts expected.

    Minnesota Vikings: No blackouts expected.

    New England Patriots : Sold out all eight games.

    New Orleans Saints: Sold out all eight games.

    New York Giants: No blackouts expected.

    New York Jets: No blackouts expected.

    Oakland Raiders: Did not respond to survey, but blackouts are possible. Had seven blackouts last year.

    Philadelphia Eagles: Sold out all eight games.

    Pittsburgh Steelers: Sold out all eight games.

    St. Louis Rams: Blackouts possible. Had three blackouts last year, and team is hopeful it won't exceed that total this year.

    San Diego Chargers: Can't rule out blackouts.

    San Francisco 49ers: No blackouts expected

    Seattle Seahawks: Did not respond to survey. No blackouts last year.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Blackouts likely.

    Tennessee Titans: Sold out all eight games.

    Washington Redskins : Sold out all eight games.
     
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  14. szarmes

    szarmes I am the Walrus

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    It seems that to the owners, football isn't about the game anymore it's about the profit margin. Where the hell does all the $9 billion per year even go? The problem is only the owner's know where it goes as almost all won't allow the public to see their profits and losses (if there even are losses). Some say that extending the season would help create more profit but that would make every game less important than they are with the current 16-game season. It would also throw off all of the stats and records and etc... Nothing about the game should be changed, just the people who get the money. Take baseball for example.. the rules haven't changed in a hundred years. For the most part the game is still exactly the same. Now look at the NFL... There have been plenty of rule changes in this decade alone. The game should be the game and the money shouldn't stop a season of play, let alone interfere with it at all.
    IMO the rookie pay scale will help to keep a bunch of unearned money out of the hands of players who haven't taken a snap in the NFL. It will help to take money out of the equation. Take Bradford for example. He made a $50+ million contract. What if he gets hurt in the first game and is out for the season and then sucks for the rest of his career? Pay scale = good idea.
    Anyway there are probably going to be some changes to this league in the next few years and that's a shame because the money shouldn't interfere with the game itself. Yet in this day and age that will not happen.
    And that fellow bolttalkers is my 2 cents
     
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  15. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    you missed my point.

    Should they broadcast a home game if it is not sold out?
     
  16. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    I want my representatives worrying about other things. There is way too much other stuff going on in this world, and taking the time to worry about the NFL and its broadcasting rights seems low on the list of priorities right now. Now if an illegal alien in Arizona was watching a NFL Network show with a pirated signal on a stolen Blackberry while being pursued by the INS crashed into a bus load of Children then we would have a problem and Congress should get envolved.
     
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  17. DenverBolt67

    DenverBolt67 BoltTalker

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    You are kind of right. But Baseball played 154 games until 1961 (AL) and 1962 (NL). But overall, the game hasn't changed
     
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  18. CoronaDoug

    CoronaDoug Well-Known Member

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    If it is not sold out then make it pay per view.
     
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  19. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    dont fool yourself it is all about the money. Free agency started all this. A player should be allowed to go where they want, and they go to the highest bidder. Take a look around any Stadium do you see at least 200 ads? How many television time outs are taken during a NFL game? It might not go all the way down to a basic pass, but it goes down to the Quarterback and the receiver.
     
  20. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    Yes.
     
  21. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    I am fine with them focusing on the NFLs broadcast policy. They can multi task just as we do.
     
  22. SDBoltzFan

    SDBoltzFan BoltTalker

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    I have Dish, and I don't get Padre home games. This actially makes me less interested because I can't follow the games that easy.
     
  23. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    I've got DirecTV so I can't watch them there, even if they're on ESPN. But the new FCC ruiling has Cox (which owns Channel 4sd) in discussions with other carriers like our Sat providers.
     
  24. SDRaiderH8er

    SDRaiderH8er Well-Known Member

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    Years ago they did not broadcast those home games. Then Cox came out with a pay per view per game package.
     
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  25. Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan

    Carlsbad_Bolt_Fan Well-Known Member

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    Yep, and IIRC, the Padres got rid of a ton of players right before that season. Season ticket holders and those who bought that PPV package screamed bloody murder about it. Some season ticket holders got their money back and then they got rid of the pay per view offering. They knew then that no one was going to watch that awful team in person, nor was anyone going to pay to watch it on TV.
     
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  26. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    The blackout policy was certainly annoying before I started going to all home games. They get so much money from TV, they should just life the blackout. I can't see thousands of people all of sudden NOT going to games.
     
  27. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    No and with the revenues from outside the game would increase with the local fans being able to see the team play. I cant picture Bucs or Jaguar fans spending a lot of money on a team they are distanced from by an out of date policy.
     
  28. Concudan

    Concudan Caffeinated Commando

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    Reports are that the NFLPA has already started collecting documents to allow them to decertify in March. Looks like the battle lines are drawn and the big guns are being loaded.
     
  29. powayslugger

    powayslugger Feckless Slappy

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    LMFAO
    :icon_rofl:
     
  30. BoltzRule

    BoltzRule Well-Known Member

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    How about dropping ticket prices? $80 a ticket is too much for most people, even former season ticket holders can't afford them anymore. Lift the blackout rule, the NFL makes a shitload of money from TV, I'd imagine lifting the blackout rule would increase viewing and thus increasing future revenue. Drop ticket prices to encourage fans to go to games to create the atmosphere.

    That's what should happen, but it won't.
     

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