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.
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