This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Buffalo Bills Blacked Out While NFL Counts TV Billions -- Today's Outrage

Stocks in this article: CBS NWS CMCSA DIS DTV

Of this year's 14 blackouts, more than two thirds involved just two teams: The Buccaneers and the Cincinnati Bengals. The 4-9 Bucs could pin their problems on terrible play this season, but not last year when every home game was blacked out during a winning campaign. The Bengals, on the other hand, could blame a terrible four-win season for a string of blackouts at the end of 2010 but are 7-6 behind upstart quarterback Andy Dalton this year.

In both towns, the economy has taken its toll on fan bases that already spent millions in public tax dollars to build team stadiums. It's not about play and it's not about the franchise's future: It's about the cost of supporting a team that can't even show home games on a regular basis. For Buffalo and the San Diego Chargers, meanwhile, uncertainty surrounding their stadiums and not-so-subtle overtures by cities including Toronto and Los Angeles is being expressed through flagging Sunday attendance. Neither team is heading to the playoffs this year, but fans more unsure about where each team is heading when leases at Ralph Wilson Stadium and Qualcomm (QCOM) Stadium end have bigger problems than missing the postseason.

There wouldn't be so much angst in these markets if the league and its broadcast partners used the means available to them to end blackouts. In Miami, for instance, a horrible season that led to Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano's firing would have been a lot worse if the local CBS affiliate hadn't stepped in. On multiple occasions this year, CBS4 WFOR and the Dolphins have exploited a loophole in the NFL blackout rule that allows teams, their sponsors and their broadcasters to buy unsold tickets for 34 cents on the dollar and give them to local charities.

Why doesn't this option come up in TV rights negotiations? If the NFL is going to squeeze networks for billions more anyway over the next four years, why not raise the price, create a blackout fund and keep teams on the air all season instead of punitively stripping home games off of local market television?

Or, you know, do away with the blackout deal altogether and realize that the exclusive broadcast rights it sells to the networks, cable stations and satellite television providers are a far more precious commodity than the seats in its stadiums.

If the NFL takes away anything from the networks' multibillion-dollar bid for their games and the blackouts that followed, it's that the only seats most NFL fans care about filling are those in their warm homes in front of their HDTVs and the Sunday ticket they're most interested in buying is the multigame, seasonlong package sold by DirecTV (DTV) -- for less than the cost of taking their family to the stadium.

-- Written by Jason Notte in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to

>To submit a news tip, send an email to:


Follow on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook.

Jason Notte is a reporter for TheStreet. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Huffington Post,, Time Out New York, the Boston Herald, the Boston Phoenix, the Metro newspaper and the Colorado Springs Independent. He previously served as the political and global affairs editor for Metro U.S., layout editor for Boston Now, assistant news editor for the Herald News of West Paterson, N.J., editor of Go Out! Magazine in Hoboken, N.J., and copy editor and lifestyle editor at the Jersey Journal in Jersey City, N.J.
2 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!


DOW 17,804.80 +26.65 0.15%
S&P 500 2,070.65 +9.42 0.46%
NASDAQ 4,765.38 +16.9840 0.36%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs