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Blacked-Out Games to be Available Online

UPDATED (11:45 a.m.)...

Facing the prospect of an increased number of television blackouts this season because of sluggish ticket sales in some cities, the NFL announced Thursday that games that are blacked out on TV in the local market of the home team will be shown on a delayed basis online in their entirety on the league's Web site.

The games will be free in the affected markets, according to the NFL's announcement, and will be available for 72 hours beginning at midnight on the day of the game. They won't be available during "Monday Night Football" telecasts, the league announced.

"We understand that the economy is limiting some families and corporations from buying as many game tickets as they had previously," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement released by the league. "These free re-broadcasts on NFL.com will allow our fans that can't get to a blacked-out game an opportunity to see the entire game."

Under NFL rules, a game can be carried on TV in the local market of the home team if it is sold out 72 hours before kickoff.

Goodell said last week that as much as 20 percent of this season's games could be blacked out.

Only nine of 256 regular season games were blacked out last season league-wide.

But some teams are having trouble selling tickets for this season in the uncertain economy. The Jacksonville Jaguars have indicated they expect all of their home games this season to be blacked out, and other teams also are facing potential blackouts.

NFL officials have said they do not plan to change the blackout rules as they relate to the availability of games on TV.

According to the league, all games are available on its Web site on a subscription basis. But it is making blacked-out games available for free in the affected home markets, the league announced.

By Cindy Boren  |  September 10, 2009; 11:14 AM ET  | Category:  League , Television Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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not only the economy I have 3 daughters under the age of 5, really I would like to grill out with them in the back yard and enjoy the game and then once a season pass them off to grandma for a sunday game at the stadium, family values in the nfl huh, I don't tivo I watch the commercials and some of them make me want to buy their products. I mean I know when I go to the game I don't want to worry about jumping up and spilling my beer on someones 2-4-5 year old daughters. just my two cents

Posted by: jdgoldman | September 13, 2009 11:01 AM

ok. just checked nfl.com and did not see where you can watch online for free. You can LISTEN to it, if you subscribe, but where can you watch?

Posted by: CBell29 | September 10, 2009 1:35 PM

According to the league all games are available on it website via subscription? Only audio is available in the US right now. You can subscribe for video coverage if you're only if you're not in the US or US territory. Come on, get with the times. MLB does it. Premier League Soccer does it. Cycling does it too. It's time for the noisy minority of old guard owners in the league to listen to a new generation of fans. People aren't interested in being dictated how they access the content the are interested in anymore. Website offer a fantastic ability to track viewership, ad impressions, etc. So, what's the issue? Give DirecTV and the networks their cut and move into the 21st century.

Posted by: triggersd | September 10, 2009 1:33 PM

"Under NFL rules, a game can be carried on TV in the local market of the home team if it is sold out 72 hours before kickoff."

Not sure I understand the value of the rule for the NFL, especially in this economy. As it seems, if the game isn't sold out then the NFL loses all the local advertising revenue from an entire TV market.

It's punishing the fans, who cannot afford to go to the games, by not allowing them to see the games at all. The NFL loses not only that weeks advertising revenue from the market, but also it won't attract any new fans who would probably watch it on TV.

The branding of the team name slowly dissipates - in it's most potentially lucrative market - each time a game is blacked out. After all, out of sight out of mind. Your consumer base will forget about your product.

Sure, the availability online will help the die hard fans see a degraded version of the game, but no new fans are checking it out under those conditions.

I'm a Skins fan but developed a respect for the team I could see in my local market in college, the Steelers. I was surrounded by Steeler fans watching Steeler games and I couldn't see my Skins, so I took what football I could get. I still like the team today.

This year, all the college kids who may see another team in their college market are going to miss out. And with that, so will the NFL on another generation of league-wide branding.

Less advertising in local markets actually means less revenue for local businesses...which are run by local residents...who would have less local income to put their butts in local seats. It definitely should open some eyes on states or municipalities who are thinking of giving tax breaks to teams building new stadiums. One could argue that if local tax dollars went into building the stadium, that events in that stadium are partially owned by the taxpayers.

The NFL is kicking themselves in the butt in order to enforce a policy that kicks the fans in the shins. Maybe I'm missing something here, but it seems like a pretty silly policy to force butts in seats. It may come back to bite the NFL.

Posted by: 20yrskinfan | September 10, 2009 1:30 PM

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