TAMPA FL - DECEMBER 05: Fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers just before the start of the game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on December 5 2010 in Tampa Florida. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

NFL Blackout Rule: Bucs Lower Threshold, Jaguars Don't

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they will set their bar for blackouts at the new NFL minimum of 85 percent. Will any of the other Florida NFL teams follow suit?

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Miami Dolphins Blackout Rule Decision Due Aug. 9

The Miami Dolphins are weighing a decision on whether or not change the team's threshold for home game blackouts. Dolphins CEO Mike Dee told the Florida Sun-Sentinel that the team would arrive at a decision on Aug. 9.

A recent rule change by the NFL allows teams to lower the ticket sales threshold for blacking out home games. Previously, a team had to sell out completely in order for the game to be broadcast in its home market. The rule allows teams to set the sales point at 85 percent. However, revenue from tickets sold above and beyond that mark must be shared, making it a riskier move for teams that believe in their ability to sell out games.

The last time the Dolphins were blacked out was in October of 1998. In 2010 and 2011, the Dolphins used a rule allowing teams to buy out unsold seats in order to avoid blackouts. Dee told the paper that the Dolphins had to purchase substantially more seats in 2011 than they did the year before.

August 9 is the deadline for teams to report their decision to the NFL.

For more on the Dolphins, be sure to check out The Phinsider.

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Jaguars Focused On Winning, Not Blackouts

The Jacksonville Jaguars want wins.

Wins equal support. Support equals revenue. Support plus revenue equals lack of blackouts.

With a reputation across the country for being one of the worst franchises for blackouts, the Jaguars aren't spending mass amounts of time trying to decide what their blackout number is going to be. Instead, they are focused on the product on the field and the domino effect that product will have on other aspects of the success of the organization.

"As it relates to ticket sales, it's like there was this countdown to lifting the blackout," said Jaguars president Mark Lamping in the Florida Times-Union. "The reasons we sell tickets has nothing to do with a blackout. It's to generate the revenue to have a stable franchise. If we do that, we don't have to worry about blackouts."

Various components go into lowering or raising the blackout number and the Jaguars are considering them all. The Times-Union's Gene Frenette goes into further detail here and Lamping also tells him this:

"You want the blackout number as high as it can be as long as you can achieve it," said Lamping. "If we can take the tarps off for a game or two, it'd be an emotional lift for our fans."

For more on the Jacksonville Jaguars, make sure to visit Big Cat Country

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers May Still Have Blackout Issues

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a certain amount of excitement surrounding the team after it was announced that they had chosen the 85 percent benchmark in accordance with the NFL's new blackout policy. Under that number, last season's attendance numbers would have met the 85 percent minimum. But a closer look is needed.

As Mark Cook of Pewter Report explains, the attendance numbers for the Bucs last season are skewered by two nationally-televised games that were both sellouts. The other games would not have made it under the 72-hour rule. It's all a lot to take in as the Bucs try to entice more viewership of their games both locally and at their stadium.

"We hope that this move, along with lower ticket prices, starting at $30 for adults and $15 for children, will lead to more televised Buccaneer home games this year," said Vice President of Business Administration Brian Ford.

For more on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, make sure to visit Bucs Nation. Still not enough football for you? Then head over to the NFL Hub Page for all the latest news from all 32 NFL teams.

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Jaguars Will Not Change Blackout Rules To New Lower Threshold

On the same day the Buccaneers announced that they will implement the new NFL blackout policy with a lower threshold, representatives from the Jaguars indicate that their blackout number will not change. The NFL recently instituted a new policy where they set the bar at 85 percent capacity in order for a blackout to be avoided. The threshold used to be all non-premium seats needed to be sold 72 hours in advance of the game.

According to Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union, the Jags will not drop to the 85 percent level like the Bucs:

"We have not finalized our blackout number yet, but it will be the same as last year, or very close, to accomodate some seating initiatives we are considering unrelated to the blackout issue," team president Mark Lamping said.

The Jags have not had a home game blacked out since 2009, but they also had to rely on several loopholes in the NFL system in order to avoid a blackout -- namely, getting extensions from the NFL and paying 34 cents on the dollar to the league for unsold tickets.

For more on the Jacksonville Jaguars, make sure to visit Big Cat Country.

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Should The Jacksonville Jaguars Lower Blackout Number?

The NFL has changed its blackout policies, and teams that struggle to draw sell outs must now decide what percentage of attendance at their home stadiums will be the new bar for blackouts.

While some have decided, others have not, including the Jacksonville Jaguars. Alfie Crow, editor of Big Cat Country, wrote a post exploring this dilemma that the team faces, and he has concluded that the Jaguars would be better off not lowering their blackout number to the new minimum of 85 percent.

"It would make sense for the team to drop it to say 95 percent or so, but keeping it at the current level should be in the Jaguars interests. Not to mention the stigma already unfairly hanging over the team with blackouts, it would just be inviting in a swarm of negative PR."

Some teams, such as the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts, are keeping the blackout level at 100 percent capacity in non-premium seating, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers became the first to announce that they would be following the new minimum of 85 percent.

The Jaguars ranked 24th in the league in attendance in 2011 with an average capacity of 92.8 percent.

For more on the Jacksonville Jaguars, make sure to visit Big Cat Country.

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Dolphins Will Do 'Everything' Possible To Avoid Blackouts

During the 2011 NFL season, only the Cincinnati Bengals filled a lower percentage of their stadium than the Miami Dolphins. With 81% of their seats filled, according to attendance stats, even if the Dolphins completely took advantage of the NFL's new relaxed blackout policy, they would need to fill additional seats to get their games on local television.

Dolphins CEO Mike Dee spoke to Ben Volin of the Palm Beach Post about the team's increased priority on avoiding potential blackouts at all costs:

"Our goal is always to do everything we can to keep the games on local television," Dee said. "And market and sell and do everything we can to sell as many tickets as possible, and hopefully get to that point in time when we can sell out the games organically."

For more on the Dolphins and their offseason moves, check out The Phinsider. Keep up with all the free agency news in the NFL at SB Nation's NFL hub.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers To Follow New NFL Blackout Policy Minimum

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced that they will set their bar for blackouts at the new NFL minimum of 85 percent.

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