Random Monday thoughts

It’s a lovely Monday in Kansas City, but it won’t be that way for long. Storms are moving in late tonight, and should be in town through most of the day Tuesday. Ugh. My last day before I go back to Russell–at least for a couple of days–and it’s going to rain. 

I’m back at Buffalo Wild Wings. Got here a little later than I had hoped, but it’s still early enough. I figure to be here through at least 8:30, because Buzztime’s The Pulse is tonight at 7. 

The only basketball on tonight is the NBA and NCAA women’s tournament. If anyone comes close to UConn, it will be a total shock. 

NFL owners have just voted to suspend blackouts of exhibition and regular season games for the 2015 season. Under NFL rules in place since 1973, if a team’s game does not sell out within 72 hours of kickoff, the game is blacked out to any station whose signal penetrates within a 75-mile radius of the home team’s stadium. In some cases, the NFL will allow for an extension of deadline to 48 hours, or in rare instances, 24 hours. 

In the case of the Chiefs, the stations in Kansas City and Topeka are blacked out when the Chiefs do not sell out, leaving Wichita and Omaha as the closest markets which will show the games. The Chiefs have rarely had that problem, with the only recent blackout in 2011 vs. Cleveland. 

Prior to 1973, all home games, sold out or not, were blacked out in the local market. This also affected the first six Super Bowls, two of which were played in New Orleans. My father tells me the story from time to time of how he went to a relative’s house to watch Super Bowl IV, since that house had an antenna which could pick up WAFB, the Baton Rouge CBS affiliate. Baton Rouge was blacked out for Saints regular season games, but not Super Bowls IV and VI.  

The NFL blackout rule has come under heavy fire. Many in Congress have threatened the NFL’s antitrust exemption over it. The Federal Communications Commission repelaed the rule last year, but it has no bearing on how the NFL operates, meaning the blackout rule is still in effect.

In 2011, the NFL offered a new program for teams struggling to fill their stadiums. They could lift the blackout when 85 percent of non-premium seats were sold, but in return, that team would have to give all visiting teams a higher percentage of gate receipts. A few teams, including the Colts, Chargers, Jaguars and Bills, balked at this proposal and kept the blackout threshold at 100 percent. 

Pedro Gomez is on SportsCenter right now, talking about how the defending World Series champion Giants are struggling during spring training. SO WHAT? It doesn’t matter for another two weeks. 

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on March 23, 2015, in College Basketball, National Football League, Personal and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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