The NFL has decided to suspend suspending games from local television, as per ESPN. At least for the coming season.
This shift comes Monday from the owners’ meetings in Phoenix, Arizona. The teams voted (and approved) to suspend the blackout rule which applied to preseason and regular season games. Previously, teams could opt in for the “85% rule“, a rule stipulating teams only had to sell 85% of their tickets to broadcast the game.
The change to the NFL’s rules doesn’t change much. There were no blackouts this past year and only 2 the previous year.
The rule change takes away additional revenue from tickets for some teams. Teams that did not sell out their tickets or reach the 85% threshold could sell tickets to themselves or local businesses for 34 cents on the dollar. Even though the FCC had overturned the blackout rule, the NFL kept it this past year so struggling teams, both on the field and financially, could benefit from the forced extra ticket sales.
However, the extra cents gained from the selling of tickets at a reduced rate is chump change compared to the extra value that can be found in renegotiated TV deals. With the local broadcast networks assured of no blackouts, the amount of money that could be garnered by the NFL in negotiations will go up significantly.
And in the NFL, it’s all about the money.
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