First things first. At a meeting on Thursday with NFL writers, Goodell said as much as 20% of the NFL's games could be blacked out this season. Goodell noted that as few as 80% of this season's games will be carried in the home team's market --- a far cry from the 95% of the games that have been carried in the local markets in the past four years. In fact, last year just nine of the 256 regular season NFL games were blacked out for the home team.
The problem I have is that we are in the midst of a rather nasty economic downturn, which should be taken into consideration. I know that the only Bengals' game to sell out is the Pittsburgh Steelers' game, which will see the stadium full of Northern Kentucky bandwagon jumpers in their Ben Roethlisberger jerseys (did I say that?). According to the report, roughly 18 to 20 of the 32 NFL teams have sold out all of their home games this year. That is a lot of people that will not see their home teams play on TV. The NFL has to tread carefully here, as it faces a dozen teams that will not have a home game on TV this year. This means that there will be a lot of people not paying attention to their home team, a lot of people not buying merchandise, and a lot of people not providing revenue for their home team. I gave up my Bengals' season tickets this past year because they were too expensive and I don't want to keep giving money to an owner that doesn't care about winning. I had to make financial decisions with my family in mind, and the tickets were what needed to go. Turns out that there are a lot of people that agreed with me - as Bengals' ticket sales are slumping.
With the poor economy, why can't the NFL make some exceptions here? I'm not saying televise every game, but there should be some consideration made. Set a limit of tickets to be within in order to see the games. Some teams will get there, some won't. While Mike Brown (the Bengals' owner) may sit and count his money, even if the stadium is empty - some owners will turn to other methods to make sure that the game is sold out. The Washington Redskins, for instance, have caused a bit of backlash by selling tickets straight to ticket brokers, then bragging that it has sold out every game and there is a waiting list for tickets. The brokers are going to sell those tickets at a higher price, making money in the process. Believe me, if I were a season ticket holder for the 'Skins, I'd be very mad. These brokers are paying the same amount as the regular ticket holders, but they are selling the tickets at a higher price - making a profit in the process. Believe me, the only people making a profit on Bengals' tickets last year was the team itself. I ended up donating my tickets to the final game in a form of protest started by an underground group of hardcore Bengal fans.
When economic times are tough, people need to make some changes. NFL fans will not be able to see their home teams play thanks to some economic concerns - but the League doesn't care. While the NFL is the best football you can see (according to some), an uncaring facade could drive some fans away from the pro game and right into the arms of the best football on the face of the Earth - college football.