Possible Blackouts loom for the San Diego Chargers and 10 other NFL teams

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Photo from 'hyku' via Flickr

Photo from 'hyku' via Flickr

By Paul Arnold

This year, more than ever, preseason games for many NFL teams have faced a blackout on local television because the stadium hasn’t been “sold out.” Going into the regular season, it appears that our own San Diego Chargers may be facing games which will not be televised, based on the existing NFL blackout policy.

For those of you readers who may not know, the blackout policy is a longstanding policy in the NFL, which basically states that if the stadium is not sold out by the Thursday before Sunday’s game, it will not be shown in the local TV market. NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell said recently, “It has served us well. It has served the public well, and I do not anticipate any changes with our blackout policy.”

To that I say with the most sincerity I can muster, “bullshit”. This situation is nothing more that greed and arrogance. Yeah, I know the NFL is the most successful organization of its kind. I know they have built such a dynasty and ‘cash cow’ that everyone in the free world (and parts of Canada) would kill to duplicate. But in this case they are just plain wrong. Through 2011, the NFL has contracts that will pay it a combined $11.6 billion by CBS, NBC and FOX for television rights fees. Through 2013, the league also has an agreement with ESPN that will generate $8.8 billion. That’s $20.4 billion- This is greater than the gross domestic product of most countries!

That revenue windfall, combined with the economic realities facing many Americans, added to the ridiculous costs of attending an NFL game these days could have provided the league and the owners with a perfect opportunity to give a little back, even if it were in the form of a temporary policy.

But alas, the NFL won’t consider the merits of telling their customers that they understand the tough situation out there and because they care, the blackout policy will be lifted this season. Instead, they dogmatically cling to a policy that just doesn’t fly in the face of what’s going on in the real world. Do you think the Detroit Lions will fill their stadium, given the 20-plus percent unemployment in that market (plus the fact that the Lions will likely suck again)? So, then the Lion’s fan who has looked forward to sitting in his (or her) lounge chair with a beer to see the local team play is just out of luck.

Here in San Diego, it has always been a tough sports town. The majority of people who live here grew up somewhere else, so that traditional deep-seeded loyalty is simply not present. Add in the plethora of other cool activities available to San Diegans on a sunny fall Sunday, compared to say Philadelphia or Pittsburgh and it adds even more likelihood that the stadium will not be full. Of course, San Diegans tend to be ‘bandwagon’ jumpers, so if the team starts fast for a change, that may positively impact attendance. But still…


  1. Avatar

    Ver Cobb

    September 4, 2009 at 10:28 am

    You got it right on top of the nail Paul, yeah Detroit just got hit real hard ,…………………………..just like the rest of the country………………………NFL is just real too greedy………….. and they just don’t see it the typical American thinks,………… my neighbor who is retired now, who used to be a rabid football fan, just won’t even look at the TV anymore on those unblocked Sunday Games BBQ’s, I asked him why? and he said, ” the NFL are just in for your money! ……look at baseball, they even flaunt their empty stadiums during their games!…………….I then add my 64 cent …….for NFL’s ……B.S.2.

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    September 8, 2009 at 5:40 pm

    Paul I agree with you on how the NFL is too greedy and a little thoughtless, but as far as selling out stadiums, San Diego has been struggling with that for years mainly because of its loyalty problem and not just because there are other things to do on a sunny sunday afternoon. That I believe is an excuse because New York City is a place with lots to do 3 times as much. New York City does not have any problems selling out games for the Jets or Giants. And those games are even more expensive than Charger games. See when it comes to sports, loyalty on the East Coast is much greater and far more superior. So I think it has more to do with Loyalty in California than anything else. Thats why I hope that Los Angeles never gets a another pro franchise because those fans are not that loyal. You’ve seen Laker fans at home games. They are a joke. Most of them are just there to see Kobe Bryant and are there for show. This is coming from a Laker fan’s perspective. And as for the Detroit Lions, guess what? They have sold out their games and are not facing blackouts. And Detroit is a depressed city right now economically. So if Detroit can sell out its games, then San Diego can.

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    September 9, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    I watch any NFL game I want on my computer. No blackout policy to worry about. And it is free. Cable is for suckers.

  4. Avatar


    March 2, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Floods & Earthquakes can happen.

    Are you part of the problem or the solution? These people need your help!

    Give assistance to children!

  5. Avatar


    March 3, 2010 at 2:10 am

    Helping other children of this generation promises your own children a better future

    The American Cancer Society requires financial and volunteer help

    Please conside donating

  6. Avatar


    March 4, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    The response to local and national disasters is awesome but it’s a damn shame that so many people take advantage of the negative situations.

    I mean everytime there is an earthquake, a flood, an oil spill – there’s always a group of heartless people who rip off tax payers.

    This is in response to reading that 4 of Oprah Winfreys “angels” got busted ripping off the system. Shame on them!

  7. Avatar

    Locman Watch

    April 18, 2010 at 10:10 am

    Eating, loving, singing and digesting are, in truth, the four acts of the comic opera known as life, and they pass like bubbles of a bottle of champagne. Whoever lets them cripple without having enjoyed them is a entire fool.

  8. Avatar

    Longines Master

    April 18, 2010 at 11:39 pm

    May your passion be the meat of corn stuck between your molars, unceasingly reminding you there’s something to demonstrate a tendency to.

  9. Avatar

    Mechanical Watches

    May 27, 2010 at 5:13 pm

    It’s not complex to realize decisions when you know what your values are.

  10. Avatar


    June 9, 2010 at 12:34 pm

    I think I allready have been informed about this issue
    at work 1 day ago by a friend, but at that moment
    it didn’t caugh my attention.

  11. Avatar

    Gail Mussell

    December 29, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    There is evidently a bundle to know about this. I feel you made some nice points in features also.

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