Sep 28 2009
The Raiders lost to the Broncos 23-3 today. But no one in the Bay Area saw this game because it was blacked out.
Now, one could certainly make the argument that no one that has any interest in the Raiders would want to see their team beat they way they were beat today, but lets leave that aside for the moment.
The NFL black outs, i.e. doesn’t show any game on TV within 75 miles of the stadium, any game that does not sell out 72 hours prior to kickoff. I suppose this rule is designed to encourage people to go to the games, rather than sit at home and watch on TV.
But this is a BS rule for several reasons.
1. A team that is doing poorly needs as much help marketing as possible. They need more TV exposure, not less. Blacking out games makes people forget about the teams, rather than potentially see a breakout player or improvements that could result in higher attendance in the future. How can a team expect to improve attendance when it’s primary product, football games, are not even being shown to the areas that should support it the most?
2. The economy is bad. If people can’t afford to go to games, then they shouldn’t be punished for it. The Oakland Coliseum holds 65,000 people – that’s a lot of seats to fill for a city whose unemployment rate is 17.5%. It’s no surprise that Detroit’s game was blacked out also – the city currently has an unemployment rate higher than 20%.
3. With the advent of HD, it’s waaaaay better to watch a football game on TV unless your seats are right on the 50 yard line. In a 65,000 seat stadium, lets face it, a lot of seats are horrible. Not to mention in Oakland, if you’re in the upper decks you’re likely to get into a fight or robbed before the 2nd half.
I think the main point here is that the NFL’s black out rules are archaic. I think a better approach would be to cram more commercials into games that don’t sell out – that way at least the league and team benefit and fans still get to see the game. But this vindictive approach of taking away TV coverage is lame, although I’d doubt that this changes anytime soon.