Weak NFL box office ominous for local TV


The problems being experienced by some National Football League selling out their home games could result in a bad case of blackout fever for local television stations – and at the same time provide a strong dose of opportunity for local radio. Of the 32 franchises, 13 are already sold out, and 10 are on the endangered list.

The Jacksonville Jaguars, operating amidst a blighted real estate market, are looking at the possibility of a total blackout. That would be all eight home games. To put it in perspective, only nine games were blacked out in total all of last year.

The San Diego Chargers franschise is also considered a likely blackout victim.

According to USA Today, eight other markets at the very least say its too early to tell if they will face blackouts or not, including Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, Oakland, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. San Francisco perhaps belongs on the list of question mark markets, since in refused to discuss the matter.

Eight teams have not yet sold out, but expect to, including Atlanta, Buffalo, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Kansas City, Miami and the New York Jets.

In the safe category are Baltimore, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, Indianapolis, New York Giants, New England, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Seattle, Tennessee and Washington.

The economy is getting the blame for the problems. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “Our clubs have been working hard in the offseason to create other ways to try to get people in the stadiums and to have policies that are a little more flexible, and hopefully they’re going to pay dividends for us.”

RBR/TVBR observation: Loss of an NFL game will obviously be a horrible development for the local television station that would normally carry it. The game has to be sold out three days in advance to avoid a blackout. That would give enterprising sports radio stations three days to capitalize, if they’ve had the foresight to save any inventory. The time to closely analyze the schedules of endangered teams is now, if that hasn’t been done already.