Posted 21 September 2009 - 10:14 AM
I think that the thing most people are missing is that the idea is to sell tickets. That's what the blackout policy is trying to protect. If tickets are available, the only way to see the game is to buy a ticket. It used to be that all home games were blacked out, whether the game was sold out or not. It took a 1973 act of congress to televise games if they were sold out. This is a healthy explination from Vic Ketchman who writes for Jaguars.com. Personally, I like the blackout rule.
"Vic: One of the things I’ve come to understand is how little fans know about the genesis of the TV blackout rule. When I explain it to them, they get a look on their face as though I’m talking a foreign language. The first thing they always ask me is, “What do you mean all home games were blacked out?” That’s how spoiled we’ve become. There are several events in pro football history worthy of research. For those fans who really want to know the history of the game, I recommend “The League,” by David Harris. If there’s one event in NFL history, however, for which I would like fans to develop a fuller understanding and appreciation, it’s the impact of the playoff weekend of Dec. 23-24, 1972. That’s the weekend professional football became the number one sport in the land. The one o’clock playoff game on Dec. 23 was the “Immaculate Reception” and the four o’clock game was Dallas’ fourth-quarter rally behind Roger Staubach to beat San Francisco. That evening, America was pro football crazy. Anywhere you went, it’s all people wanted to talk about. In those days, TV was a desert of entertainment on Christmas weekend. You’d get the Andy Williams holiday show, followed by the Perry Como Christmas show, followed by Lawrence Welk’s Christmas for Senior Citizens show, etc. The pro football playoff games that weekend were a treat the country devoured. Those games were also blacked out in their hometowns because all home games were blacked out back then. We’re talking about a broadcast rule that was sacrosanct to NFL owners. On Dec. 24, Washington hosted a playoff game, which was blacked out, of course, and that sent Congressmen who were angry that they didn’t get to see the Redskins game on TV on a crusade to end TV blackouts of home games that were sold out. The following summer, just before the regular season began, the 1973 Act of Congress was passed, ordering any game that is sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff be televised to the home market. NFL owners were outraged. They complained bitterly that they were being forced to give away their product. Harris covers the significance of the ’73 Act of Congress thoroughly. That act expired a few years later but the NFL continues to abide by the 72-hour rule. I would like for fans to understand all of this because I’d like them to have an appreciation for the luxury free TV football is. And I would like everyone to understand what the weekend of Dec. 23-24, 1972, meant to the game we love today. That weekend, in my opinion, was the pivot point of the modern era of professional football. More specifically, Dec. 23, 1972 is the day pro football became our national obsession."