Ohio senator applauds NFL’s modified blackout policy


NFL / National Football LeagueSherrod Brown (D-OH) is pleased that the NFL is taking less of a hard-line approach to television games locally when they are not sold out. But did the NFL move the bar low enough for the Cincinnati Bengals?

The new NFL policy will allow local television carriage of games as long as 85% of the seats at the stadium have been sold.

Brown has been one of Capitol Hill’s chief critics of the blackout policy, in part because the Cincinati Bengals have been one of the chief victims of it.

“The NFL’s blackout policy is unnecessary, “Brown has earlier argued according to USA Today. “The NFL is poised to earn record profits while the Cincinnati taxpayers who built the stadium will be watching reruns rather than touchdown runs.  The rule is an outdated relic that doesn’t serve the NFL or the fans.”

Brown’s Senate website offers a portal on a litany of blacked-out Cincinnati Bengals games to anybody who types the letters NFL into his site search window. Fans of the team without tickets were able to watch but two of eight home games during the 2011 season.

Despite Brown’s applause, the new 85% threshold may not do Bengals fans any good, however. According to website Bleacher Report, the Bengals’ stadium has a capacity of 65,535, 85% of which is 55,700. They sold that many tickets only two times, versus the Steeler and Ravens. So the new policy would have had zero effect on Bengal blackouts.

According to Bleacher Report, however, all is not lost for Bengals faithful. The team is planning to sell lower-priced tickets, so the combination of more-affordable stadium attendance and 15% sell-out cushion could bring more locally-televised games during the 2012 season.