Blog Entry

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Posted on: December 23, 2011 10:16 pm
NFL on CBSBy Josh Katzowitz

On Friday, the Bengals announced that owner Mike Brown had purchased about 30 percent of his team in order to keep the vast majority of his empire inside greater Cincinnati. Also, on Friday, one of Ohio’s senators said Bengals fans, perhaps in response to Brown’s ownership history, needed a little extra help in getting through these tough times.

Sherrod Brown (D-OH) called on commissioner Roger Goodell to end the NFL blackout rule, and in part, Brown said he’s trying to protect the fans who aren’t buying tickets to see Mike Brown’s franchise in action.

"The NFL's blackout policy is unnecessary,” Sherrod Brown said in a statement, via USA Today. “The NFL is poised to earn record profits while the Cincinnati taxpayers who built the stadium will be watching reruns rather than touchdown runs. The rule is an outdated relic that doesn't serve the NFL or the fans.”

The rule began in 1973 when the NFL decided it was in its best interest to get fans into the stadiums, and according to the paper, the actual percentage of games that the home fans can’t see has fallen. Pretty drastically, actually – from 50 percent in the 1970s to 10.8 percent of games in 2010 to only 6.7 percent this year (though teams have taken to buying or encouraging local businesses to purchase enough tickets to avoid a blackout, so the latter two numbers are a bit skewed).

One reason Sherrod Brown is bringing up this topic now is because CBS, Fox and NBC all struck new deals with the league that last through 2022 that will add about $3.1 billion into the NFL coffers, a 60 percent increase from the last contract between the networks.

Still, don’t expect the blackout policy to go away.

“The blackout policy is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets; keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds; and ensuring that we can continue to keep our games on free TV,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told the paper. “Playing in full stadiums with thousands of fans is an important part of what makes NFL football an exciting and special entertainment event, both live and on television. We have a limited number of games and do not want to erode the incentive to buy tickets. Every market receives more than 100 NFL games on free TV every year, regardless of the blackout policy.”

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Since: May 11, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2011 3:45 pm

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

I was always told politics and sports shouldn`t mix. Come on Sen. Loser, why not try and do the job you promised to do. If people have the chance to buy tickets, but it`s too cold for them, well tough S&#T, stay home and watch the "Brady Bunch"

Since: Nov 10, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 1:51 pm

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Tough call.  On one hand there are the taxpayers who supported the construction of these new stadiums and should expect to see soemthing from their "investment".  On the other hand, the government never should have gone into the stadium business in the first place, and two wrongs don't necessarily make a right.  That's why we have such big government in this country already, the government does something it shouldn't do then does something else it shouldn't do to make up for it, and so on and so forth.  It's like giving the tax breaks to all the new mortgages a couple years ago, now telling those same mortgage holders they are going to pay for the payroll tax cut extensions.

There are plenty of things teams like the Bengals can do without seeking government intervention.  They can reduce ticket prices.  They can put a better product on the field.  They can move to a different location where the team will receive more support (this last one is more difficult in the era of taxpayer-funded stadiums).  Instead both the owners and players have gotten so used to government support that they expect the government to take over and take care of everything, just like Fannie, Freddie, and GM (although if the government were to involve themselves in one thing I hope they'd take a long look at the BCS).

Besides, the free market dictates that if these teams aren't filling their stadiums, nobody really wants to watch them anyway.  If you lift the blackouts, you might be cheating a lot of people in those regions out of otherwise seeing their teams for free.  Nobody wants to watch the Pirates and Royals play baseball, instead the free market dictates televising every Yankees-Red Sox game possible.  Likewise, why would you want to televise Cincinnati or Tampa Bay when you could show the Steelers or Packers to a wider market.

Since: Feb 25, 2009
Posted on: December 24, 2011 12:46 pm

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Its not quite the Same thing.  Think about it like this a tax on a major metro population is honestly rarely felt.
It doesn't matter how you think the tax burden is "felt". The state is still giving stadiums to owners at the taxpayer's expense. All this talk about keeping government out of private enterprize and politics out of business seems to fail on it's face right at the doorstep of taxpayer-funded stadiums, doesn't it? Where is the outcry over government intervention when it's in favor of the billionaire owners? Why isn't it interference when the state robs the people to and give to the owners?

Since: Dec 26, 2010
Posted on: December 24, 2011 12:22 pm

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Not so private when the taxpayer has build their stadiums.  With billions made we the taxpayer should not have to be taxed to help a private corporation build their stuff and then cant watch the games because the cry babys feel like they didnt make enough money from ticket sales on game day.  NOW THAT IS RIDICULOUS.  I say pass a law that if taxpayers help build your company you cant lock the door.  the only really thing the nfl could do is not televise the games forcing people to see the games at the taxpayer paid stadiums.  But then they would lose billions of dollars from cbs, nbc, and fox who I believe get their money from us too.

Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 11:48 am
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 22, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:53 am

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Its not quite the Same thing.  Think about it like this a tax on a major metro population is honestly rarely felt.  Why?  Because its like a half cent or two and a half cent increase...not a real significant tax increase on a small or large scale but a half a cent increase over millions and millions of people and a lot of money can be raised.  That being said I don't mind the Blackout here's why:  1) Gets fans to support their team good or bad...lets not be fair weather band waggoners  2) NFL main property is the stadium and stadium revenue TV is as much an opposition to the stadium as it is a benefit...3) It encourages the owners to improve their team.  I will yell this real loud   GOVERNMENT SHOULDN'T BE IN SPORTS LIKE MOST BUSINESSES STATE/FEDERAL POLITICS SHOULDN'T DICTATE HOW A BUSINESS IS RUN SO LET IT BE STATED LET IT BE DONE SO SAYS THE FIRST AMENDMENT OF THE FREE MARKET COMMANDMENTS...KEEP BUSINESS OUT OF POLITICS KEEP POLITICS OUT OF BUSINESS...SHEEEEEESH. 

Since: Jan 14, 2007
Posted on: December 24, 2011 10:10 am

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Dimwitted republemming, this is a fair a viable statement of fact most statiums are paid for with tax dollars, and a huge portion of those same taxpayers can't afford to take their family to the statium they've paid for. I wish I could get people to build me a multi-million dollar home and then allow me to live there for a $1 a year lease.  

Since: Jul 17, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:44 am

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Free TV? I think the NFL spokeman McCarthy needs to get a clue. No such thing as free. Cable or Dish. And if someone is getting the NFL for free let me know please. Bty their was a 12-13% drop in Directtv's NFL package. They are going to have to drop the price of that too if they want to keep the fans in the NFL.

Since: Jul 17, 2008
Posted on: December 24, 2011 7:33 am

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

I totally agree with him. Should never have been a backout rule in the first place. It only helps the owners. If they are afraid that fans wont show up on game day well.....thats their problem. The fans are paying for this entire operation to work. They(owners and NFL) just need to make sure you put a good product on the field. No difference in any business. If you cant advertise, promote the product they wont be coming to buy it. Seems pretty easy for me to understand. Again this is about the big corp protecting and fucking the little guy anyway you look at it. Go figure it took a re-thug to bring politics into it.

Since: Dec 24, 2011
Posted on: December 24, 2011 6:13 am

U.S. Senator calls for end of NFL blackout policy

Leave it to the democrat party to try and control a private entity for the greater good.

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