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The Donnybrook
Thursday, August 27, 2009
It's Not Just the Jags...

Who may be blacked out in their home TV market:

...at least four teams face potential local TV blackouts of their home games because they have not sold enough tickets, according to people involved in the league.
Ouch. Another four may have to do some creative promotions or slightly-veiled spending to ensure sellouts.

....what was more surprising -- that the Vikings sold so many tickets after acquiring Favre, or that they had so many tickets available before signing him?

...In addition to Minnesota, the teams having trouble selling tickets include the San Diego Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars. The list of teams with ticket-selling issues also could include the Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Detroit Lions and possibly the St. Louis Rams and Cincinnati Bengals. Thursday night's preseason game in Cincinnati and Saturday's games in Detroit and Oakland are blacked out on local TV.
Jax is a case of the combined effects of a small market and transient fans or residents who never live there long enough to become Jaguar fans. Much of the greater Jax area is military, with MacDill AFB being home to both CENTCOM and SOCOM. Many of these residents bring their favorites with them when they transfer in. The Jags are a fine back-up team for many, but they aren't going to buy season tix or the pricey sky boxes. And Jax is a small, small market.

The Raiders and Lions just consistently suck. Hard to sell tix that way. Oh, and Al Davis seems intent on letting his narcissistic management destroy that franchise.

The 49ers are in danger of entering their second era of futility, like the one that preceded the glory years of the 80's and early '90's.

Is it possible that the NFL has too many teams? If there are several years of this sort of condition, we could see NFL contraction. There is likely to be an uncapped season next year and a lockout before the 2011 season. These are not the sort of conditions that point to a quick turn-around. Imagine an NFL with 4-8 less teams. The talent level would rise, there would be less games, but each game would mean more.

If the players and owners want to avoid this scenario, they will both have to give up some money. Nobody does that easily or happily. Don' t bet against a lockout in 2011. (Lee - another case bet?) The players will have to accept some sort of rookie minimum salary and less than 60% of TV revenues. The owners will have to give some, too. Like the franchise tag, adding in some of the stadium, local radio, and souvenir revenues to what players get, etc. The star players will resist the most because they have the most to lose monetarily just as the big-money/big-market owners will resist the most because they will lose the most of the all the owners, if the league keeps all 32 teams for the long-term. I think some franchises should be allowed to fail, but the NFL is a very socialistic sort of partnership that subsidizes shitty teams so that there will be enough pin cushions for the good teams to beat.


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