Green Bay Packers Quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Bengals QB Andy Dalton are both likely hoping their respective fans aren’t shut out on television this weekend when the playoffs begin.
For Green Bay Packers fans who live in their team’s market, it looks like they may have to go back to the good old days of potentially listening to it on the radio thanks to the NFL’s blackout rule.
Between frigid temperatures and an expensive outing in a still recovering economy, Packers fans haven’t exactly jumped at the opportunity to spend their hard earned money to freeze their butts off (the forecast is calling for -3 degrees and -19 with the wind chill) to sell out Lambeau Field for this weekend’s battle between their team and the San Francisco 49ers. ¬†As a result, the league is on the verge of blacking out what could be one of their biggest games of the season.
Imagine the Packers fighting to advance to the Divisional round and fans not being to watch it. ¬†That would be an absolute travesty.
According to USA Today their were 3,000 seats remaining as of 4pm Thursday, which will hopefully see the team or sponsors purchase the remaining seats. ¬†However, the fact the league still has this rule in place is pretty ridiculous. ¬†The FCC announced last month that they’re contesting the rule, voting in favor of a proposal to eliminate it.
The NFL said in a statement that it will “strongly oppose any change in the rule. We are on pace for a historic low number of blackouts since the policy was implemented 40 years ago. While affecting very few games the past decade, the blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds.”
Unfortunately the league doesn’t seem to understand that the rising cost of tickets, parking, concessions, and merchandise are what ultimately keeps fans who want to go, but simply can’t, from going. ¬†Take away the chance to at least watch it on television, and that doesn’t exactly seem to be the best way to get them to flock to the stadium. ¬†
In recent years it seems the bigger market teams have thrived but the smaller market clubs are the ones who suffer, and the Packers don’t seem to be alone with this problem. ¬†Another team whose fans may also miss this weekend’s game is the Cincinnati Bengals, who are set to battle the Chargers but also haven’t sold enough tickets. ¬†For a team that is on the rise and could use a boost in interest, it seems foolish that the league would allow potential fans to miss out on the chance to see it.
But for now until the FCC is able to overturn this rule by the giant that is the NFL, the Bengals will have to hope that local businesses or the team will purchase the tickets to make sure the game ends up on television. ¬†Otherwise they’ll be in the dark, wondering if Cincinnati can win their first playoff game since 1990.
So basically if both were blacked out, Packers’ fans will be able to watch the Bengals’ game, while fans in Cincinnati will be able to watch Green Bay play. ¬†Yeah…that makes sense.