The NFL, often slow to adapt to change, is finally using a little common sense, and has decided to drop the blackout rule that has been in place since the goal post were still in the front of the end zone.
Since the early 1970’s, the NFL required teams to blackout games in the local market if the game was not sold out 72 hours before kickoff. That policy was amended in 2013 and allowed NFL teams to opt for an 85 percent ticket sale mark to allow local broadcast, something the Glazer family has done over the previous two seasons, including buying up the amount of tickets needed to reach the 85 percent threshold.
Prior to 2013, Bucs fans found a number of local games unavailable for viewing locally. At one point in the late 90’s through the mid-2000’s Tampa Bay enjoyed a long string of consecutive sellouts, and at one point boasted a waiting list for season tickets. The team’s inconsistent record after the Super Bowl win in 2002, coupled with an economic recession, saw the season ticket fan base drop dramatically, leading to the blackouts.
The NFL hasn’t said what will happen in 2016, but with the multimillions each NFL team makes per season from the broadcasting contracts, NFL owners can no longer legitimately make an argument that gate revenue is needed to make teams sustainable. While it certainly pads their pockets – with parking, ticket and concession revenue – the product on the field will be the determining factor on hoe many people show up on Sundays.
Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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