Posted by admin in STADIUM, TELEVISION on 10-07-09 No Comments
You really got to hand it to the NFL when it faces a tricky problem. League management is not afraid of throwing in some Reggie Bush corner cutting to move the ball a couple of yards: Faced with declining attendance, many struggling franchises — including Jacksonville, the Chargers, and the Lions — have been forced to black out games in their local broadcast markets creating a major PR issue, especially in places like Detroit that have been hammered by the economy. And last week there was much hoopla about Jacksonville lifting its blackout for a game that sold out. But if you look carefully at the event, you will see that owners covered seats, not sold them to get under the blackout limits. So the Jaguars “sell out” happened even though many seats remained empty.
And there is hanky panky going on the better markets as well. Luxury and box seats for example are simply being ignored by the NFL as far as blackouts go. So major new stadiums like the ones for the Cowboys and the Giants — where seats are reaching $700 each — there will be lots of open seating come game time.
Why we tech types care is, of course, online streaming. As of now the NFL only allows games to be streamed at midnight on Sunday. But with attendance falling, and other leagues beginning to ramp up their their online packages (MLB in fact cut MLB.com package pricing at the end of the season to lure some business.) It is fair to wonder if the NFL is backing from their no blackout, no simultaneous streaming policy, particularly in troubled markets. Think about it: Opening the games up to a pay online tier is the fastest way around the blackout/sell out issue. Free TV stays off air. But Web users can see even lightly attended games for a low price.
Streaming is going to be happening sooner rather than later.
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