For the 106th week in a row, the Miami Dolphins have avoided a blackout on local television. That looks like an impressive streak, right? Despite the Dolphins' 2-7 record this season, the fans are still coming out to support them at home.
If only it was true. The Dolphins may have avoided a blackout, but for the fourth time out of five home games this season, they did so by having a sponsor purchase the remaining tickets to the game. This is the same strategy the Jaguars have used this season to avoid blackouts, and the Buccaneers did something similar in past seasons (but not this one).
At what point does the media start to realize that the attendance problems that plague the Dolphins, Buccaneers, Jaguars, Rays, Marlins, Panthers, Magic, etc, aren't isolated events? These attendance problems get brought up in the media and discussed to death, but if so many Florida teams have intemperate fanbases, eventually you have to start to looking beyond the local markets and looking at Florida as a whole. Why is it that so many Florida teams struggle with attendance?
There are a wide number of answers to that question. The teams are young and there are a large number of them. Many fans are transplants from other areas. Local economies have tanked hard in recent years. The state is dominated by sprawl, yet lacks effective public transportation systems. When you look at Florida from a wide lens, all of a sudden the attendance patterns for teams start to make much more sense.
But for big networks like ESPN, it's so much easier to bash (and it's better for ratings). Informed discussions of why attendance is low rarely happen, and it leaves fans with a poor understanding of the Florida markets.
Will that ever change? Hopefully, but I'm not holding my breath.