Friday, September 2, 2011

Blackouts looming for the season opener

When the Titans visit the Jaguars on September 11, Tennessee tailback Chris Johnson will be present.  The only question left is whether enough other people will be present to allow the game to be televised.
As of Tuesday, more than 10,000 unsold non-premium tickets remained.  Per Jacksonville Business Journal (via SportsBusiness Daily), the Jags decided to give away free tickets to Thursday night’s preseason finale against the Rams to anyone who purchased tickets to the Week One game, on a one-for-one basis.
The size of the dent that the promotion made isn’t yet known.  Regardless of the number of unsold seats, the Jaguars are optimistic (unlike the Bucs) that the tickets will be sold.
“The last thing we want is the first regular season game to be blacked out,” Mackey Weaver, the team’s Vice President of Marketing and Sales, told  “With the 9/11 significance of the game and the hated Tennessee Titans as the opponent, we’re going to have a big rally here.”
That’s what makes the looming blackouts for both the Bucs and Jaguars (and the Dolphins in Week Two) even more troubling.  These are home openers, and intriguing matchups.  The Jags host a division rival, the Bucs host the Detroit’s new darlings of the NFL, and the Dolphins host the high-powered Houston offense.
The late Sam Kinison used to say that starving people in Third World countries should live where the food is.  To be as successful as possible, the NFL eventually will have to move teams to where the people — and thus the money — are.

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