October 20, 2020

Why NFL Blackouts Don’t Work

The Detroit Lions are 0-everything. (see, this post works whatever week you read it) Combine that with the fact that Michigan’s unemployment rate is almost in double digits, and it’s no surprise that the Lions were about 7,000 tickets short of selling out again – for the 3rd home game in a row.

So, per NFL rules, the game won’t be showed within 75 miles of the stadium. If you’re unfamiliar with Michigan that means the game is only on TV on the far west coast, and near the UP. Nobody’s watching it.

If I turn on Fox right now, they’re showing an infomercial for some weight loss smoothies.

This policy clearly doesn’t work for a variety of reasons:

1.) I guarantee you Fox will get more ratings and advertising revenue showing a losing team instead of an infomercial. I know the ads were already sold, but this will impact future ad sales when people realize their Fox ads won’t be seen in select markets.

2.) Nobody drives 75 miles to go see a Lions game – period. Most Lions fans come from within 25 miles of the stadium. That’s where most of the people here in Michigan live. The radius is way too big, and you’re just hurting fans who live up north and can’t get to games anyway.

3.) Not showing the game hurts attendance. Seriously. TV is the NFL’s biggest marketing device. When kids and parents see other kids and parents having a great time at a game they decide to buy tickets. Hell, even watching games increases people’s interest in it. The team also gets a chance to show ticket packages and deals during the broadcast. When you take games off of TV, casual fans completely forget about the team. Those are the fans you’re after to buy tickets – the die hard fans already have them and aren’t giving them up because the team sucks.

Come on NFL, get with the picture and ease up the blackout rules – it will help you in the long run. Just look at the Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL. For as long as I can remember their owner has blacked out games near the stadium. When he died and his son ended the blackouts he noticed that attendance went up. Way up.

Building awareness of your teams is the best ticket seller there is. Hiding them away to just a Monday morning box score won’t put more fans in the seats. It will sell more weight loss smoothies though.

About Ryan Jones

Ryan Jones is an SEO from Detroit. By day he works as a manager of SEO & Analytics at SapientNitro where his team performs SEO for Fortune500 clients. By night he's either playing hockey or attempting to take over the world with his own websites - which he would have already succeeded in doing had it not been for those meddling kids and their dog. The views expressed here have not been paid for and belong only to Ryan, not any of his employers or clients. Follow Ryan on Twitter at: @RyanJones, add him on Google+ or visit his personal website: www.RyanMJones.com

Comments

  1. I allways hate thanksgiving since you have to suffer through watching the lions every time. fail!