Last season, the NFL suspended the controversial blackout rule that required local television stations to blackout games in their markets that weren’t sold out. At the time of the announcement, NFL fans weren’t sure if it was going to be temporary or permanent. Now that the NFL announced that the suspension will continue in the 2016 season, NFL fans can relax and continue their NFL football betting.
In an article, SportsBusiness Journal’s Daniel Kaplan wrote that NFL owners voted at the annual owner’s meeting to extend the suspension for the upcoming season. The owners didn’t make a decision to make the suspension permanent, but the suspension of the blackout rule for another year gives NFL fans hope that the blackout rule will eventually be dropped entirely.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell told reporters that the league wanted to take another year to review the rule. The commissioner feels that another year will allow owners to make an informed decision on either scrapping the blackout rule entirely or reinstating the rule, which requires all the non-premium seats at a home team’s stadium to be sold 72 hours before kickoff.
Kaplan noted that there was no blackout in the league during the 2014 season, and two blackouts during the 2013 season. Last year, after the blackout rule was suspended, attendance only dropped by 0.5 percent. The slight drop in attendance indicates that NFL fans are still willing to go watch their favorite team play at the stadium even if the team isn’t very good.
Even if attendance dips further in 2016, it will be hard for the league to bring back the blackout rule without upsetting the fans. A decision to bring back the rule will also be crucified by the media, who already have the league in their cross hairs due to the concussion and discipline problems the NFL currently face.
The best option the NFL has in this situation is to announce they will permanently discontinue the blackout rule.
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