Sep 4, 2009; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers fans before the game against the Houston Texans at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Fernando Medina-US PRESSWIRE 9/4/2009 6:06:07 PM
The Minnesota Senate recently passed an amendment to the Vikings Stadium Bill that would block local blackouts. If the bill passes, this could be something the three NFL teams in Florida quickly look to add.
The Minnesota Vikings are in the midst of battling local and state government to get a bill passed to help fund a new stadium to play in. The state senate has passed a few amendments to the bill and one of them could have a domino effect for teams across the country, especially in the state of Florida.
One of the amendments that passed was one to block local blackouts of Vikings games, according to Tom Hauser of KSTP-TV. If the bill pushes through and that amendment sticks, there could be action from the NFL. There are plenty of arguments for and against the NFL's blackout policy, but blackouts have increased throughout the league the last few seasons. The NFL saw 26 games blacked out in 2010 and 16 games blacked out by mid-season in 2011. Personally, I think it's an antiquated policy that has lost it's luster and really serves no purpose whatsoever. When was the last time you knew of someone who bought a ticket to a game to avoid a blackout? How much of a ticket sales impact does the rule actually have?
Blackouts have increased across the league in recent years, especially between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Miami Dolphins, and Jacksonville Jaguars. The Dolphins haven't actually had any games blacked out recently, but they've had to be bailed out ticket wise multiple times, including local companies needing to buy tens of thousands of tickets to avoid a blackout. The same thing has happend in Jacksonville the past two seasons, following a year of nearly having every single game blacked out.
The Buccaneers have actually had virtually every regular season game blacked out the past two seasons and look like they'll be in danger of it happening again in 2012, as will the Miami Dolphins if reports of woeful returning ticket base numbers are accurate. If the blackout rule had it's intended effect, one would think that the ticket sales would increase closer to game day, but that's just not the case.
If the bill is pushed through with the no blackout amendment attached to it, you could quickly see other teams throughout the league push to have such parameters added in their own cities, especially in the state of Florida. Florida is a notoriously bad spots state, attendance wise, so all three NFL franchises in the state could likely look to have something similar added quickly.
The argument in the case of the Minnesota Senate is that if the public is going to be asked to fund the majority cost of a new stadium, events in said stadium should be available on television when applicable without forcing the public to spend even more money. It's unlikely the league will sit idly by while the bill passes with the amendment in tact, however.
For more on the Buccaneers, Dolphins, and Jaguars be sure to visit SB Nation's team blogs Bucs Nation, The Phinsider, and Big Cat Country. For more on the Vikings Stadium issue, visit this StoryStream and Vikings blog The Daily Norseman.