Will the NFL Enforce Its Blackout Policy Here?
It sure looks like the Washington Redskins won't sell out their games this year.
The team hasn't sold out its games since moving to Raljon in 1997, actually: The premium seats have never sold out since FedExField opened. But the team and the NFL invoke a common-senseless technicality that holds that since the more than 20,000 club, loge, dream and suite seats — which make up about 25 percent of the stadium's total capacity — aren't counted as part of the league's socialistic revenue sharing system, their availability can be ignored. So, as long as the cheaper general admission seats have been sold, a team can claim a sellout.
But, this season should be special, because all indications are that the seats that aren't supposed to be ignored by the NFL when deciding whether to invoke the "blackout rule" (which holds that games that aren't sellouts aren't televised in the home team's market) are going to be up for grabs, too.
Over the weekend, the Redskins held still another ticket-unloading party at FedEx.
The event, which allowed fans a chance to come look at some of the general admission seats that remain unsold in the stadium. I have never heard of any such open sale in the history of the team. After all, Dan Snyder has been quoted as saying he's sitting on a waiting list for season tickets that has more than "200,000 names" on it.
But, those 200,000, if they ever really existed, must have found another hobby by now. The open house was supposed to last from 10 a.m. to noon. According to a poster at Snyder's message board, ExtremeSkins.com, when the gates opened, the place was essentially empty.
"There was honestly no more than two dozen people in line," said the ExtremeSkins poster going by Club Seat Player. Photos of the soiree uploaded to Snyder's site showed a lot of seats with price tags on them, but no bodies wandering around to try them out.
Longstanding NFL rules hold that no game that isn't sold out — excluding premium seats — three days before kickoff can be televised within a 75-mile radius of the stadium. More events like last weekend's open house are planned before the 2010 season opens, but, color me skeptical that all the seats will be moved.
If I'm right, and Roger Goodell follows the letter of his law, does this mean: We're the new Jacksonville?