NFL Softens Blackout Rules For 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11: Brock Bolen #44 of the Jacksonville Jaguars runs onto the field during their season opener against the Tennessee Titans at EverBank Field on September 11, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The last time the Jaguars were responsible for a blacked out game in Jacksonville was when they hosted the Miami Dolphins on December 13, 2009. Since then they have remained in the lower half of the league in ticket sales, but have managed to avoid blackouts in 17 consecutive home games over a span of more than two seasons.

Now avoiding blackouts may be ever easier for the Jaguars, although it is their choice how easy they want to make that. Per the Wall Street Journal, the rules for blacking out local broadcasts has changed this offseason.

"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."

According to ESPN's attendance figures, only three teams averaged less than 85% attendance per game in 2011 and the Jaguars were not one of those teams as they finished with a 92.8% attendance average. In fact, many would argue that the threat of a blackout has helped the Jaguars to fill their stadium in the last two seasons.

However, a small amount of slack could certainly help Jacksonville ensure that they avoid the possibility of future blackouts.

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