When the Raiders faced the Chargers yesterday, nobody in Oakland could watch the game (legally) unless they were at the stadium. This marked the tenth straight blackout for the Raiders in their home market.
And the Raiders weren’t alone. The Bills were also blacked out for failing to sellout. The Lions needed an extension to avoid the same fate in Detroit. That makes eight blackouts in five weeks for the NFL. The Bucs have been blacked out twice already this season.
With the economy in a recession, the beauty of HDTV, and the lack of belligerent drunks, many fans are finding that the NFL experience is just as good, if not better, at home.
Even blackouts aren’t really a deterrent anymore.
With numerous websites streaming games live, it is no longer difficult to find ways around the NFL’s archaic blackout policy. And as more fans discover this alternative broadcasts, ultimately it is just going to hurt the NFL’s bottom line.
The NFL will eventually realise they are losing revenue because of the blackouts. If they don’t want to lift the blackouts, the next logical move would be to charge fans for internet broadcasts on a game-by-game basis.
Fans are not going to attend the games if they don’t want, as the Raiders’ streak of blackouts proves. But they will pay for the content if given the option at home. The sooner the NFL realises this, the better it will be for everybody.
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