NFL to Suspend Local Television Blackouts for 2015 Season

No NFL games will be blocked from local television next season, the league said Monday at the owners' meetings.
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No NFL games will be blocked from local television next season, the league said Monday at the owners' meetings. The teams voted for a one-year suspension of the long-standing blackout policy for the preseason and regular season. There were no blackouts last season, because the minimum number of tickets, by NFL sellout standards, was sold for every game, and the league had only two blackouts in 2013. Still, the experiment is a huge step for the NFL, whose blackout policy dates back decades. In the 1970s, half of NFL games were blocked from local TV because the games did not sell enough tickets. Some teams — Tampa, Miami, Jacksonville, Oakland, St. Louis and San Diego — have struggled to avoid blackouts, and the league is taking a bit of a gamble for 2015. The policy stipulates that a home game must be sold out 72 hours in advance of kickoff in order to be televised locally. Often, that deadline is extended to ensure sellouts if a club believes it can meet the criteria for lifting the blackout. The league's definition of a full house is not selling every seat but a large percentage of them, depending on the venue. The policy does not apply to suites or club seats. Monday's move was met with immediate approval by one of the sponsors of legislation to eliminate the blackout permanently.