NFL suspends television blackouts for 2015 season


The NFL has made the decision to not block any games from local television during the 2015 season. On Monday, the league publicly stated that team owners voted for a one-year suspension of the long-established blackout policy for the preseason and regular season. There were no blackouts last season, because the minimum number of tickets was sold for every game, and the league had only two back in 2013. Nevertheless, the experiment is a huge step for the NFL, whose blackout policy dates back decades. The policy requires that a home game must be sold out seventy-two hours prior to kickoff in order to be televised locally. That deadline is often extended to guarantee sellouts if a club believes it can meet the strict criteria for voiding the blackout. The league will assess the impact of the suspension after the season. NFL blackouts have declined considerably over the past twenty years, dipping to 40 percent in the 1980s, 31 percent in the 1990s, 8 percent in the 2000s, and 5 percent in this decade. Part of that decrease is due to the league redefining what is indeed a sellout, lowering the required number of tickets sold.


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