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National Football League To Ease Blackout Rules

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One of the points of contention during the stadium debate. . .and one that certain Minnesota lawmakers thought that they could legislate. . .was whether Minnesota Vikings home games would be viewable in the state of Minnesota. In recent years, games that weren't completely sold out by a certain time were subject to blackouts, meaning that the game would not be shown on local television in a certain radius of the stadium.

According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, the National Football League is going to ease those rules starting this season in the wake of slumping ticket sales.

Team owners have passed a resolution that starting this season will allow for local broadcasts of NFL games even when as few as 85% of tickets are sold. Under the new rule, each team has more flexibility to establish its own seat-sales benchmark as long as it is 85% or higher. To discourage teams from setting easy benchmarks, teams will be forced to share more of the revenue when they exceed it.

Because of slumping stadium attendance, long-standing season-ticket waiting lists have disappeared in several cities. Full-season tickets are readily available on the websites of 20 of the league's 32 teams.

According to last year's attendance figures, only three teams averaged less than 85% capacity for their home games. Those teams were the Washington Redskins (83.9%), the Miami Dolphins (81.0%), and the Cincinnati Bengals (75.2%). The Vikings were actually tied for 14th in the NFL last year with 98% capacity for their eight home contests last season. That figure was the third-highest in the NFC North, behind the Chicago Bears (101%, putting them in fourth in the NFL overall) and the Detroit Lions (98.8%, putting them in 13th).

Considering that the Vikings have had a sellout streak that has stretched for about a decade and a half now, this was probably never going to be an issue for them. Now, with things being relaxed a bit, hopefully it won't be an issue for anybody.