The first NFL blackout warning of 2011
Well, after 12 days of NFL free agency craziness, and a far too long NFL lockout we are finally getting back to the business of football. That of course means local TV blackouts, and the San Diego Chargers are already ringing the bells of alarm. The team has announced that they need to sell 7,00 tickets by 5PM Monday to insure their first pre-season game will be televised locally. This game, against the Seattle Seahawks, will air nationally on ESPN. All of us are of course familiar with this rule, NFL games must be sold out 72 hours before kickoff to be aired in the local market. Teams can file for a 24 hour extension if they are close to a sellout crowd at the deadline.
For NFL fans, and Chargers fans in particular, this rule is a real slap in the face. I think it is an antiquated rule, and given the state of the economy I do not think it is in the best interest of the NFL to continue to enforce it. Many folks out there simply cannot afford to go to NFL games, and especially not shell out big cash for what in the end will be a pretty meaningless contest. Of course, once the NFL steps away from this rule there will be no coming back. In all reality the NFL is in a catch-22.
Games are far more enjoyable for most of us at home. We retire to our man caves and drink a few adult beverages and enjoy the game in HD. On top of that the coverage we see via the NFL’s TV partners like ESPN is far better than what we get at a live game. Granted the live NFL game experience is one that cannot be replaced. I feel very fortunate that my job and my affiliations with certain groups allows me to see several NFL games, at several venues each NFL season.
Hopefully the NFL and local San Diego fans and businesses can get this game on local TV. It would be a real shame for them to miss it, after all that has happened this year.