According to ESPN blogger Kevin Seifert, the Minnesota Vikings have opted to reduce the required capacity to avoid blackouts by 10% for the upcoming season.
This means the team will have to sell 6,000 fewer tickets in order to lift the blackout. The Vikings are the fourth team to take advantage of the NFL’s new rule allowing individual teams to lower their blackout threshold. Miami, Tampa Bay and Oakland all opted to lower their thresholds to 85%.
Of course, airing the games on television is the least the Vikings can do after strong-arming the public into paying for a new stadium that did not have public approval. When all is said and done, the public’s share of the new stadium could end up being $525 million. And yet, Vikings fans will likely be expected to fill the new stadium to 100% to avoid blackouts.
So the NFL’s new blackout policy is still flawed, but at least fans in four markets will likely see more games on television. And given that the NFL is finally recognizing that the times have changed since blackout policies were first created, it’s hard to understand why the government needs to be enforcing NFL blackouts.
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So Sports Fans Coalition will continue to fight to eliminate government support of unethical and counterproductive blackouts.