NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- The NFL lockout is over, but home game television blackouts are looming. Who needs two?
The NFL is only in its preseason and already home games have been blacked out in Oakland, Calif., and Tampa, Fla. That likely comes as little surprise to fans of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders, who saw only one of the two teams' combined 16 home games last year. It would have been 0-for-16 if the Raiders hadn't been in the running for the AFC West lead when they faced the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9.
Despite the five months of dealing and drama that went on during the lockout, the NFL and its players didn't touch the league's television blackout policy that takes home games off the air if the game doesn't sell out 72 hours before kickoff. That means anyone unfortunate to live in an area where the local Fox, ABC, CBS or NBC affiliates broadcast within a 75-mile radius of the home stadium will get stuck with some other city's game and either have to wait for a rebroadcast after the game finishes or be stuck paying $335 this season to watch only the game's scoring drives and transitional plays on the RedZone channel of DirecTV's Sunday Ticket package.Of course, amid rising inflation, falling consumer confidence and 9.1% unemployment, fans could always just do what the NFL and its team owners want them to do and buy a ticket to a game. Brian Frederick, executive director of Washington-based fan advocacy group the Sports Fans Coalition, based in Washington, D.C., says forcing fans to buy tickets and taking away their televised home games only extorts more money out of taxpayers who have helped fund stadiums for 31 of the league's 32 teams. Ten stadiums have been publicly financed and at least 19 are 75% publicly financed, at a cost of $6.5 billion in tax dollars.
Tack on the more than $76 average cost of an NFL ticket or the $420 cost of taking a family of four to a game, according to Team Marketing Report, and it's understandable that a blackout-weary fan might want to beg his or her deity of choice for tickets that don't require an additional premium on resale sites such as StubHub. Fortunately for the ticket-buying football faithful, we have identified five NFL cities where either blackouts, bad football or a combination has made ticket-buying a breeze on game day: