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NFL Blackouts Put Heat on Florida

TAMPA ( MainStreet) -- The NFL still has great seats available for its games in Florida this year, but none of them happen to be in front of living room or barroom televisions.

Week 2 of the NFL season is upon us, and the Sunshine State's football fans are being sacked for a loss. The Miami Dolphins haven't had a regular-season home game blacked out on local television since 1998 and sold out their upcoming matchup with the Houston Texans at the last minute. Under the NFL's blackout rules, the Fins had until 72 hours before kickoff to sell all their nonpremium tickets and avoid taking a game off of local screens for the first time since their playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts was blacked out in 2000.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers notched the NFL's first blackout of the season last week. Fans who wanted to watch on TV missed a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions after the Bucs failed to sell out their home opener.

Miami's cause wasn't helped by a 38-24 Monday night loss to the New England Patriots, whose quarterback, Tom Brady, threw for 514 yards against a largely absent defense and cost cornerback Benny Sapp his job after receiver Wes Welker bet Sapp on a 99-yard touchdown play. A 2.6% hike in the average cost of a family of four to attend a game, pay for parking and grab a beer, soda, hot dog, program and cap, according to Team Marketing Report, isn't doing the team any favors either.

At least they're in some good, warm, sunny company.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers notched the NFL's first blackout of the season last week when fans missed a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions after the Bucs failed to sell out their home opener. The Jacksonville Jaguars, meanwhile, were only able to keep the team's 16-14 opening win against the Tennessee Titans on television after exploiting a loophole that allows the team to buy back tickets at a third of their cost and give them away. In this case, the town did its large military community a solid by not only keeping the game on air, but giving the remaining 1,400 tickets to the USO.

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