NFL Cracks Down On Sports Bars For Showing Blacked Out Game

Some San Diegans who declined to witness the Chargers defile the poor, defenseless Arizona Cardinals in person flocked to sports bars that snagged illegal webcasts of the game. The NFL, never happy to see its blackout policy for non-sellouts violated, sent in the gumshoes to sniff out the offending bars and make them pay.

News 10 San Diego reports the league sent cease and desist letters to 90 San Diego bars before the game, threatening $150,000 copyright infringement fines for violators. The site reports some bars went ahead with their subversive plans anyway, tapping into an online feed to display the debacle on big screens.

In response, I submit this advice for NFL teams who can’t sell out games: Lower your ticket prices.

NFL Investigating Bars For Showing Game Despite Blackout [10 News San Diego]

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  1. tedyc03 says:

    The blackout policy is silly. The NFL has an interest in keeping it since they get a cut of ticket sales; so they essentially hold fans hostage by saying “go to the game or we won’t show it at all.”

    • Dre' says:

      And they are well within their rights to do so. Thank your local intellectual property lawyer for this amazing advance to civilization.

      • Don't Be "That Guy" says:

        Just because they have the legal right to do so, does not make it good business sense. It encourages underground/black market distribution. If ticket prices were more reasonable, they would sell out.

        • PTB315 says:

          in other words “people are going to do it anyways so they’re evil for trying to stop it”. Flawless logic.

  2. tedyc03 says:

    I’d also like to see them make that claim in an actual court. “A performance is copyrightable.” Well, I don’t think it is. The TAPE may be copyrightable, but playing a tape for an audience doesn’t violate that copyright. Perhaps it violates the license terms under which the tape is distributed, but that’s a different matter altogether, isn’t it?

    • Dover says:

      The video is entirely copyrightable.

      • tedyc03 says:

        I don’t disagree. But is playing that video for a bunch of people (which involves no duplication) a violation of that copyright?

        The argument here is that they can threaten up to $150,000 in penalties for a copyright law violation; however, no duplication of the content occurred. No redistribution of the content occurred. I’m not sure under what violation they can argue that copyright sanctions can apply.

        • Dover says:

          The people making the illegal webcasts are certainly guilty of redistribution. I would argue that the bars are guilty, too, much like someone who knowingly receives stolen property.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Playing a copyrightable performance for an audience is not illegal when it done as a private performance for a limited audience not for a profit. So home performances are acceptable.

          But a bar is a public location, for an unlimited audience (whoever wants to go), and is done for a profit (showing the performance increases revenue). So this violates the copyright.

          Hope that helps!

        • dangermike says:

          This is like renting a movie and charging admission for others to view it. The bars are profitting through increased attendance during the game. It’s an almost textbook-situation of copyright violation.

      • one swell foop says:

        Can you copyright something before it exists? If the public performance is copyrightable, must it not be completed before it can be protected? A performance must be finite in some way. Being able to copyright everything I do and say in my daily life, for the rest of it, as a performance before any of it occurs seems like a legal stretch.

    • Dover says:

      The video is copyrightable and showing it violates the copyright holder’s right to exclusively distribute it. As much as I hate the NFL, they’re in the right here.

    • Skellbasher says:

      For those hung up on the fact that they threatened a copyright fine, it’s because of this was a public performance.

      You cannot perform a public display of a copyrighted work without permission from the copyright holder except in certain circumstances. Showing a copyrighted football game in a bar for commercial gain is not an allowable.

  3. Bernardo says:

    Please explain the reason for this Blackout policy. I dont follow nor really care about sports but it always seemed silly to me whenever i would hear about it.

    • benbell says:

      Basically if the game doesn’t sell out, it is blacked out in the local market.

      Being from Pittsburgh, I don’t think this has ever happened to the Steelers.

      • npage148 says:

        It happens in Buffalo sometimes, which is nice becasue I don’t have to get drunk at 2pm to forget how horrible they are

        • Skellbasher says:

          If by sometimes you mean a couple years ago, then sure.

          They’ve sold out 26 straight home game, even though the team has sucked. This week vs JAX will break that streak.

          It’s been rare that this happens in Buffalo.

          • npage148 says:

            well since 2006, that is sometimes isn’t it?

            • Skellbasher says:

              Blackouts are a bigger concern in other markets than here in Buffalo. Once every 4 seasons isn’t a problem.

              The fact that we keep going when the team is so bad is what boggles my mind. :)

              • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

                Because you’ve got nothing else to occupy your time in Buffalo? Sorry, I know it’s a cheap shot, but to be a sports fan anywhere within a 100 mile radius of Buffalo (and yes, that includes Toronto, where I live) means rooting for some other team. I project the Bills to follow the 2008 Lions in ineptitude, and what’s even sadder is that one of your “home” games is in our loser town.

    • cromartie says:

      If you put a game on television in their team’s home market, fans are less likely to go to games in person. As such, fans will watch a game for free, and the member clubs lose gate revenue.

      In some markets (such as Washington DC) this is irrelevant. In others (San Diego, Miami, and a market where team performance has been poor for a long period of time like Detroit) this can be a real problem.

      I don’t like the policy, personally, but there’s more than a little truth to it.

      • Bernardo says:

        Thanks

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        Yeah, I’m glad DC is fairly immune to blackouts.

      • MrEvil says:

        Dallas is pretty immune to blackouts last I checked. There’s like a freaking waiting list to buy tickets to a Cowboys home game.

      • tbax929 says:

        The Phoenix market used to be immune to blackouts, which was great if you’re not a Cardinals fan; we’d always get to see whichever game was the biggest of the day. Now we get the Cards every Sunday. It’s not much of an issue for me since I just stream the game I want to see at home, but it really sucks to live in a market with a team you don’t care for.

      • selkie says:

        Though the NFL is pretty generous with its definition of a ‘local market’. When I lived in Grand Rapids, MI we were part of the blackout area for the Detroit Lions. Local for NFL purposes is apparently defined as 120+ miles one way to the stadium.

        And for a long time, Barry Sanders did make watching an otherwise horrible team somewhat tolerable. so it was somewhat worth tuning in.

      • zlionsfan says:

        That is the argument that was used in the ’50s. Perhaps then, ticket prices and home markets were such that it was quite reasonable to decide between one or the other at game time.

        Unfortunately, it’s a generalization that applies only to a very small percentage of fans, those who can afford to buy tickets and who see the experiences (watching in person, staying at home) as roughly equivalent. Those who can’t afford to go to the game or weren’t going in the first place get to watch nothing at all; repeated over a period of time, blackouts can significantly depress a fan base’s interest in a team. The Chicago Blackhawks, under previous owner Bill Wirtz, were a good example of this.

        It would be fair to point out that a professional team might not feel obligated to do what is in the best interests of the fan base, but given that the vast majority of teams play in stadiums that were built with public funds and then leased or sold in cut-rate deals, if it is not yet a good idea to start building goodwill within that base, there will come a point where it will be.

        It isn’t just a matter of fan support, though. The average football fan has many, many activities competing for a share of his or her entertainment budget. The longer the NFL (and other leagues) cling to decades-old ideas about information, the worse the situation will be when they finally change their minds.

        Twenty years ago, the choice was between the local game and nothing. Now, the choice for many viewers is between the local game and every other game being played at the same time, plus games in other sports depending on the time of year, and that’s considering only live sports telecasts: naturally one could watch any number of other channels, or perhaps taped games from previous days or weeks … and as the NHL found out to its chagrin, those alternatives are much easier to find when they are the only options you have. I don’t mean to suggest that the NFL and NHL were on equal footing in the US, but should there be a lockout in 2011, the result may make the NFL wish they’d never had a blackout rule in the first place.

      • PsiCop says:

        This argument is the usual one, but it doesn’t wash. On two counts.

        First, if the cost of going to a game in-person is too high for people to pay, then they won’t pay it at all … even if the game is blacked out (IOW they’ll choose to go without). The idea that teams can charge ridiculous prices — AND still be guaranteed 100% attendance — is idiotic. In the real world of market forces, they’d have to lower ticket prices to bring more people in. But they refuse to do so, preferring to think the lever of TV blackouts will coerce more fans to attend.

        Second, the idea that people will refuse to attend in-person if they can watch for free on TV is absurd, because going to a game in-person is a fundamentally different experience. I attend several of my alma mater’s games (in 3 sports) each year, even though I could watch all of them for free on TV. Why is that? Because I enjoy going to some games in-person. It’s a great treat to do so. TV just doesn’t compare to “the real thing.”

        The teams are operating on bad premises, therefore relying on false logic — and antagonizing fans rather than working with them — to get the greatest profit. Like too many businesses these days, the NFL teams prefer treating their customers as enemies to be thwarted and defeated — even at the expense of losing money in the process — rather than as allies from whom they might profit via a cooperative venture.

    • ttw1 says:

      It also keeps tv audiences from seeing stadiums that are not at capacity.

      • craptastico says:

        it’s only blacked out in the home market, so the rest of the country can still see the empty stadium

    • MSUHitman says:

      It was originally instituted in the 50’s when the NFL owners were afraid no one would go to the games at all because of the invention of television. It was modified in the 70’s to the point it is today, highly rumored because a Redskins playoff game was blacked out. Then President Nixon went to then Commissioner Pete Rozelle to complain, Rozelle told him tough, and Nixon pushed through legislation that led to the modification of the policy.

      There is currently a slow boiling trend among elected officials (especially those who are in cities constantly blacked out or just had new stadiums built) to push through legislation to abolish the blackout policy via federal/state law as almost all stadiums are financed with public funds now.

  4. full.tang.halo says:

    I loved the blackout of the Tampa Bay where CBS ran some random film instead of another game. Bad movie, 4:3 ratio SD picture, football on another channel, and 100’s of other channels to watch, I can only think that might have been the lowest number of people watching a channel for the time slot in decades.

  5. Skellbasher says:

    For those that asked. the NFL has a blackout policy to try and ensure people are buying tickets at the stadiums. It’s basically a double money grab.

    Per the TV contract, the NFL gets paid if the game is shown on TV in the local markets or not. So the league makes their money up front.

    By forcing fans to buy tickets, they forcibly create revenue for the individual teams by increasing the take at the gate. The individual teams get a piece, the ticket companies get a piece, and the league makes out on the backside there too.

    The problem is that the market is changing. With the proliferation of HD television, sitting on your couch is a much more appealing option than paying to sit in the stands for a LOT of teams.

    The NFL is a business, and their focus is moving more and more from putting on a good product on the field, but in squeezing every last dollar they can out of their popularity. If they don’t adapt, they will price too many regular fans out, and kill their own massive money making machine.

  6. RobHoliday says:

    Back in the 70’s when this rule was implemented, the TV revenues were nowhere near what they are now. The TV revenues greatly outweigh the ticket revenue now, so the blackouts should no longer exist.

  7. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    That’s not a TV, that’s a 120-inch computer monitor. One of our bus boys was watching the game on his computer during his break. Apparently some of the bar patrons looked over his shoulder to catch some of the plays.

    Sorry for the confusion.

  8. FeelinFroggy says:

    If you lower your ticket prices they will come… A blackout policy is simply about greed.

    • Lollerface says:

      Exactly … a man cant take his kids to the stadium anymore without dropping $300+ .. that’s outrageous.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        When we talk about going to hockey games, I know right off the bat how much we are able to spend on hockey tickets. It pays to be a hockey fan. Tickets are pretty affordable and we’re fortunate to have a venue where there really are no bad seats. In the future, even if we have kids, we’ll be able to take him or her (or them) to hockey games because we can get tickets for as low as $20 each. I can’t say the same for football or basketball games.

        • AI says:

          Yeah, in America. Hockey costs $250+ for anywhere near good tickets in Canada. However we can go to football games for $20 :)

          • pecan 3.14159265 says:

            Oh trust me, hockey can cost a lot in the US, too. The $18 I was talking about was for nosebleed seats. We’re talking about the very highest sections, which are our usual section since we can’t spend $70 a ticket for the mid-sections. The nosebleed seats in hockey are cheaper ($18) than the nosebleed seats in football ($30), and that’s why I think hockey is more accessible for families.

            Also, I think it’s more owing to the nature of my venue, Verizon Center in DC. I’ve sat in the very highest row before and have had a great view. I think this season we may spend a little more to be closer to the rink, and that would actually set us back about $200 for two tickets.

            If we want to see the Caps play a rival, we’re looking at a minimum of $40 for nosebleeds. When Montreal breezes back into town, higher section tickets will be much more expensive.

            • pecan 3.14159265 says:

              I forgot to mention, though, that my figures are based on the secondary market, whether it’s the NHL’s TicketExchange or through StubHub. There is no way that tickets through the primary market, Ticketmaster.com, would start at $18.

            • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

              Try $200 for one ticket to watch our 29th-place-in-the-NHL Leafs play a game (and that’s not the best seats either), no matter what team is the opponent, and you’ll quickly see you’re getting a bargain in DC, despite Ted Leonsis’ paying for Ovechkin, Backstrom, or shooting his mouth off about the NBA’s looming CBA negotiations.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Exactly. Exhorbitant prices are keeping the fans away and not tv broadcasts.

      They are simply trying to manipulate the supply of their product which is their right. But don’t be shocked when people rather go to a bar or the internet and watch the game.

      I also hate the way these pump their product by saying ‘ another sellout ‘ when in reality it was the poor smoes who had to buy the season tickets six months in advance and agree to do so for years at a time. These games aren’t sellout because of fans saying-‘oh great team, good time’ it’s I’m stuck with these tickets.

      I predict these sports franchises will be one of the next bubbles to burst.

  9. Tim says:

    This is one of the reasons why I hate professional sports. It’s all about money, money and more money. And lots of money. They’ll milk as much money out of as many places as possible. Tickets, network agreements, cable channels, swag, bars, local and state governments …

    • Tim says:

      Greed! That’s the word I was looking for.

    • Me - now with more humidity says:

      No player is forced at gunpoint to accept a big contract. No owner is forced at gunpoint to accept taxpayer money to build a stadium or offer big salaried. No fan is forced at gunpoint to buy a ticket for a game. No advertiser is forced at gunpoint to spend money for a slot during a game. No fan is forced at gunpoint to watch a game on TV.

      It’s free enterprise, just like your local coffee shop or grocer. Get over it.

      • Tim says:

        I didn’t say anyone was being forced. Well, except for the taxpayers being forced to pay for stadiums, even decades after they’re built. I’m just saying it’s a greedy, money-grubbing business, out to collect money by any means possible. Then they disguise it as a means of local pride, local community.

    • Bativac says:

      I don’t hate professional sports. What I hate are my local tax dollars being used to build a stadium for the professional sports team to play in.

      I’ve heard the arguments about how it supposedly helps the local economy to have a pro sports team. I’ve also read the study that says otherwise. I say if someone wants to buy a team and base it in a city, let that someone also pay to build the stadium. Or, let the NFL build the stadium.

  10. mvillafana says:

    In response, I submit this advice to NFL fans who can’t afford the cost of tickets:

    Let them eat cake.

  11. Darrone says:

    The NFL is a monopoly, it allows them to do this.

    • Larraque eats babies says:

      How is the NFL a monopoly?

    • Dre' says:

      The Arena Football League says you don’t know what you are talking about.

      • Nekoincardine says:

        The Intense Football League mutters “yeah, what he said”, while my (seriously) gay best friend measures his running time and outruns not just the entire local team but at least a third of the entire league.

        Still fun to watch sometimes.

      • Darrone says:

        the XFL and soon defunct UFL say you don’t know what you’re talking about. The arena football league is not a competitor to the NFL. If the AFL did not exist, there would be no increase in NFL profits. Not a dime.

  12. MDSasquatch says:

    Watching the game on TV is a far better experience than actually going to the game. On TV you get interviews, replays, and a lot of entertainment. At the game, you see a lot of standing around, a few seconds of plays and then more standing around. Add in the cost of the ticket and I don’t even consider going to a game.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      Half of my relatives are huge football fans and only a handful of them actually like attending games because to get decent seats to see the action, you have to spend hundreds of dollars. Any less, and you’re in the nosebleeds and the players are as small as ants. It just isn’t worth the cost.

    • tbax929 says:

      I haven’t been to a lot of NFL games, but I have season tickets for my alma mater’s (U of AZ) football team, and the games are exciting. Of course, my school’s tickets are really affordable, and they’re actually pretty good this year! I like going to the games because I know everyone around me; some of them are people I only see at football games. The only downside for me is no alcohol in the stadium.

      As a sports fan living in a college town, I find going to college games way more affordable, and a lot more fun. My nearest large city is a 2-hour drive, which isn’t bad. But it makes going to games there a real pain in the ass.

    • katarzyna says:

      Yes! Hockey and basketball are better when you’re at the game, football is better when you’re at home. Unfortunately, I live in Detroit, where we games are frequently blacked out. (On the other hand, given how the Lions play, it might be fortunate that I can’t watch half the games.)

    • rmorin says:

      Gotta disagree. I am a season ticket holder in the NFL and there is nothing better then being at the game. Tons of energy (atleast in my nosebleed section where the non-corporate types sit), you get to see things as the happen, and there are plenty of replays on the High-Def screens. Also you can focus on the whole field, not what the camera man is currently panning on. You know all those play fakes that the camera pans to the wrong guy? Never happens live.

    • Griking says:

      I agree. Its the same with baseball for me too. I can watch the game on a large screen television and actually SEE the plays. I also can hear the play by plays and watch instant replays as well.

      At home I can also watch the game from the comfort of my own chair, have quick access to a fridge stocked with beer that doesn’t cost $8 each. All the food that I’d like at a reasonable price and probably most important, I don’t have to walk and wait in a long line to take a leak when I gotta go.

      It’s all about the comfort for me. They can give the tickets away for free and I’d still probably only go to a live game once a year.

  13. amcfarla says:

    I second lowering the ticket prices…fortunately in Denver we don’t experience blackouts, considering there is a 30k waiting list for season tickets so we will probably never see a blackout

  14. Underpants Gnome says:

    I wish Chicago had this problem. They sold all the seats to scalpers under the guise of “Permanent Seat Licenses”, so now every game is technically sold out, but all the tickets are available on stubHub for a 500% markup.

    • theblackdog says:

      Heh, a lot of football teams have done that. Luckily it seems that a majority of Baltimore PSL holders are actual fans of the team.

  15. TVGenius says:

    I’m sure the column in the San Diego paper with advice on how to get around the blackout, which specifically mentioned sites that frequently have the illegal webcasts, did nothing to curb the practice. It’s kinda funny that one of the more popular options is to drive an hour east, into the neighboring Yuma/El Centro TV market, to watch where the game isn’t blacked out.

  16. Andy says:

    Oh god yES! I would LOVE to go to a niners or hell I’d even venture to Raider Territory to watch live football. I think all sporting events are so much more fun live than on Memorex, but at $50 a seat for nosebleed + food and a souvenir? I wish I could go to more games, I would go, really.

  17. pot_roast says:

    I used to think the at home experience was better, but I don’t know.. there are some cheap tickets with “all you can eat” food packages now, and big screens at the stadiums.

    Then again, I live near Jerry Jones World…

  18. axiomatic says:

    The only thing the blackout rules do is limit the potential for advertisement during the game. When a blackout is in play if I were a advertiser I would be looking for a partial refund of my advertising dollars as I know my commercial is not airing in the city where the blackout is in effect.

    Beyond that, a blackout has never encouraged me to attend the game in person.

  19. MustWarnOthers says:

    All I have to say to this shit is “Lol”.

    So if the unbelievably overpriced Stadium seats don’t sell, the game doesn’t get broadcast. NFL still makes money on both ends (TV Deal up front, Ticket sales regardless if sold out or not), Fans/Consumers get screwed.

    If the tickets sell, the NFL just makes more money.

    If you try and buy tickets to a game, you get reamed by stubhub/season ticket holders selling on stubhub.

    If you’re going to keep pushing back on your fans/consumers, what the hell do you expect them to do? Occasionally I’ll bring up with my friends “Let’s all go to a Football game (Giants or Jets)!” But then the harsh reality sets in that we all don’t have 300+ dollars per ticket to shell out for the shit.

    • craptastico says:

      college football FTW. games are usually around $30 and you can usually buy them right from the school instead of going through a “screw you” intermediary.

  20. zomgorly says:

    Wait if the game was not supposed to be broadcast because of a blackout, how did it get broadcast online?

    I would think if the NFL were to not broadcast a game they wouldn’t let it broadcast in any medium.

    How are the bars to get into trouble if the game was broadcast online for people to watch. Does connecting a computer to a television automatically make it a TV broadcast?

    • SonarTech52 says:

      And what website were they using? Im tired of not being able to see my Steelers play because I live in Texas…

    • katarzyna says:

      The game is usually just blacked out in the area local to the stadium they’re playing in.

  21. katarzyna says:

    Alas, lowering ticket prices probably wouldn’t work in Detroit. Last year I won two tickets I couldn’t use, and I had a heck of a time *giving* them away.

  22. v0rt says:

    This has been a problem for years in San Diego. Unless the team is on one of its great streaks, the games are under constant threat of blackout. A number of years ago, when the Chargers were God-awful, the city had a ticket guarantee agreement with the team where the margin of tickets necessary to prevent a blackout would be purchased out of public funds. If i recall correctly, the unspoken reason for this was the team’s incessant, implied threat of leaving for greener pastures. It may still happen, because the team wants the city to heavily subsidize the capital investments in their extremely profitable, gazillion-dollar-earning enterprise (i.e. new stadium).

    I agree with the “lower ticket prices” suggestion.

  23. Spook Man says:

    In Cleveland and the surrounding areas, when the Cleveland Browns are playing no other football games can be shown at the same time. So it’s either no football or the Browns. This past Sunday, there were only three games televised the whole day.. Nice, eh?

    • mistersmith says:

      It’s like that everywhere unless you are in more than one team’s “coverage zone” or whatever they call it. Like, growing up in the DC/Baltimore region we could catch everything. Now I’m far from there in a one-team zone and, like you said, one morning game, one afternoon game, and then the night game. Sucks!

  24. El_Fez says:

    Quick! Over to Joe Rockhead’s place. He lives just outside the Blackout Zone!

  25. hennese says:

    Ok, so the bars rebroadcast an INTERNET feed of the game, and thus, by defenition of the FCC, “Information” and not “Telecommunications”(From previous consumerist post “the FCC reclassified broadband as “information service” instead of “telecommunications service,” and Mr. Local Monopoly has been partying it up ever since.” = well since they are just providing INFORMATION and not a tv signal, the NFL should not be able to complain at all. In fact, I think every single bar in the US should pull all of their feeds in over the net for blacked out games. The NFL should have no power to complain.

  26. BigHeadEd says:

    I’m a season ticket holder for the Buccaneers (waits for the snickering to stop) and to me the problem with the blackouts (which we’re probably going to have every week this season) is that the owners will end up with less overall revenue, meaning less to spend on payroll (at least that will be their excuse), leading to an even worse product on the field over time followed by a repeat of this downward cycle.

    Even cheap tickets won’t help when the total cost to attend a game (parking, high-dollar Lite beer, and loads of sunscreen) is still not in line with the quality of the product.

  27. andyg8180 says:

    Red sox baseball is like that too… im almost 2 hours away, in another state, and im considered blackout territory… no mlb.tv for me… plus ticket prices are so damn high, why would i want to go?

  28. AI says:

    Can’t these bars just put up signs saying “NFL employees are not allowed on the premises. If found to be on premises they will be subject to a $150,000 fine and trespassed.”? Then if they receive cease and desist letters, charge them with trespassing, and send them a fine. “NFL employee” is not a protected group, so you can discriminate against them.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      Except that anyone could have ratted on the bar showing the game (say, the guy that got cut off by the bartender for being a drunk asshole.) Technically, even if the game wasn’t blacked out, the bar would have needed a performance license of some sort from the NFL to put that game on their TVs, because the league holds the copyrights on any telecast, and the trademarks to the logos, team names etc.

  29. jcargill says:

    I’m so glad that I’m a lukewarm sports fan. The sports corporations are always thinking of new ways to screw their loyal fans.

  30. Klatu Berata Nicto says:

    Your article is MISSING some pertinent information. It was in fact KGTV Channel 10 THEMSELVES who contacted the NFL regarding those bars; and ratted them out, as well as the several websites that they were using to watch the “blacked out” games. I understand the UT wrote an article about people watching blacked out games online, KGTV then went further, and listed by name, all the websites they were using, and even went so far as to whine to the NFL themselves. As a result, the NFL decides to send people to local bars and see who may be violating this blackout policy. In short, if you can’t watch a blacked out game in a bar, or on your pc, now you know who to blame. I think they have overstepped their bounds, and in my eyes they are rats. I mean, who was this hurting? The NFL? Gimme a break. Why run that story anyway, when you’re only going to TAKE FOOTBALL AWAY from people, and get “mom and pop” sports bars in trouble, and P.O. everybody else who just watches casually online. We should have a KGTV blackout policy, where we ALL JUST STOP WATCHING them. Again, if you cant watch your game online, or at the bar, BLAME KGTV, now you know who’s to blame for this situation, and who blew the “whistle”.

  31. Fight Back Against David Horowitz! says:

    I enjoy football, and often go to college games.

    I was very interested in attending an NFL game this year, so I looked into going to see San Diego versus Jacksonville. I live in Los Angeles, so it’s quite a ways to San Diego’s stadium. I checked ticket prices, and the cheapest seats were over $60 for obstructed view/nosebleeds before fees were tacked on. I added it all up and for me and my girlfriend to attend the game would’ve been well over $200 once all costs were added up, for what was sure to be a mediocre live experience.

    We ended up saying, nah, we’ll watch it on TV. Wouldn’t you know that this particular game was blacked out. Did that change my mind? Hell no, it just made me mad at the Chargers organization. They are delusional that the Los Angeles area is part of their “home market.” (For the record, I’m not a Chargers fan, and I don’t know anyone who is who lives in Los Angeles).

    I despise the NFL organization and team ownership, even though I like football. Blackouts are a sham.

    Having said that, I wish they’d black out the Raiders games here in LA perpetually.

  32. Yentaleh says:

    Hahaha! Way to drive away the fan NFL! (This is why I love hockey, if the tickets are too expensive, then go to your local Boston Pizza (if you are in Canada) and catch the game there. I think this policy is rediculous!

  33. common_sense84 says:

    “In response, I submit this advice for NFL teams who can’t sell out games: Lower your ticket prices. “

    Wrong, the advice is don’t black out games.

  34. mistersmith says:

    What if the bar had paid for Sunday Ticket? Would they still be in violation of the blackout?

    • takingbackamerica says:

      If you want to make the NFL look even worse, you can pay for Sunday Ticket and you’re still subject to blackouts. Again, to protect the poor abused local TV affiliates.

      I’m not positive of this, but I believe that Sunday Ticket blacks out all games locally shown in your area. This is to force you to watch the affiliate telecast of that game. You’d think me paying $300 for an entire season, forcing me to sign up for DirecTV would be enough to finally have a choice. Nope. Sunday Ticket is a monopolistic joke. Luckily, I live where I can see most of my team’s games, although 2 of 16 every year are in jeopardy because of the FOX station here being Washington and not Baltimore.

      As mentioned before, blackouts only occur in primary market areas, areas that are within 75 miles of the stadium. So even if only a small portion of your marketing area is within 75 miles of the city, you’re out of luck. This is how Grand Rapids could blackout a Lions game, for example.

      The NFL is beyond the most egregious of the sports leagues. They make the most money, although their gravy train is about to end with the owners angry that the players make too much (Less comparably by far to baseball and basketball). When the owners lock the players out in 2011, the fans will not be back in 2012.

      I’d add that the owners have largely guaranteed themselves money from the NFL, regardless if there’s ever a game, and the TV contracts will still be paid to the NFL and owners regardless if there’s an NFL game at all in 2011.

      Blackouts are stupid. As many have said, the ticket prices need to be brought into reality. But taking your product away from people is not going to make them more likely to spend a cent or to go to the game, it makes them all that much more likely for them to realize they’re pawns in an endgame of greed, and all the more likely to run for the hills and find something else to do on a Sunday afternoon.

  35. Fjord says:

    It boggles my mind how in the great US of A they make people go to the games so everyone can watch it for free. In case that happens for a football game you are entitled to about 1 hour of football and 3 hours of commercials.
    In Europe, somehow the stadiums for most of the big teams are always full, and even if the game doesn’t sell out it is always on TV without any commercials, except half-time.

  36. I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

    Did this remind anyone of the Buffalo Wild Wings commercials?

  37. Blious says:

    The fact that the NFL would think that they need to do this shows what utter scumbags they have working for them

    Everyone remember them telling New Orleans people that they owned “Who Dat” only to be forced to retreat when everyone called them out for it and the NFL said only when a Saints logo was used (when previously they didn’t say that)

    These dirtbags want to screw everyone they can