For their investment, the networks get ratings doubled those of their prime-time offerings. Last fall, 31 of the 32 most-watched television shows were NFL games. But the public doesn't see any dividends from that success and still had 15 NFL home games blacked out in 2012. That's down from 16 last in 2011 and 26 in 2010, but not a significant drop considering last season's change in blackout policy -- which most NFL teams didn't sign on for.
In that context, compare what the Glazers are doing to keep the Bucs on television to what's happening in Buffalo, where the team still blacks out late season home games, plays one "home" game a year in Toronto and just squeezed both Buffalo and New York State for more than $200 million in stadium upgrades that only guarantee its presence for another eight years. That's a better deal than Charlotte, N.C., got when it approved $87.5 million in public funds for upgrades to Bank of America (BAC) Stadium that will only keep the Carolina Panthers around for another six years, but at least that team's sponsors and television affiliates buy out unsold tickets.
It's similarly grim in San Diego, where the Spanos family that owns the Chargers is openly courting other cities as the city patently refuses to build the team a new stadium on its terms. Negotiations are ongoing, but the man San Diego elected to play hardball with the Spanos clan, Bob Filner, was just ushered out of office amid a scandal.
So why would the Glazers do this? At least part of the answer involves the NFL's other Florida franchises: The Jacksonville Jaguars and the Miami Dolphins. After blacking out almost their entire home slate in 2009, the Jaguars and their fans resolved not to do that again and used a combination of ticket drives, free beer with ticket purchases and an NFL blackout loophole that allows teams, their sponsors and their television affiliates to buy unsold tickets at a third of their face value and give them away to charities. The Jaguars have struggled, but they haven't blacked out a game since.
Select the service that is right for you!COMPARE ALL SERVICES
- $2.5+ million portfolio
- Large-cap and dividend focus
- Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
- Weekly roundups
Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.
- Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
- Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
- A custom stock screener
- Upgrade/downgrade alerts
- 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 + Doug Kass + 15 more Wall Street Pros
- Intraday commentary & news
- Ultra-actionable trading ideas
- 100+ monthly options trading ideas
- Actionable options commentary & news
- Real-time trading community
- Options TV