Monday, August 31, 2009
TV's N F Hell
Finally. Some good news for radio.
And it’s at the expense of local and network TV and the National Football League.
A much larger-than-expected number of markets - San Francisco, Oakland, Detroit, San Diego, Minneapolis-St. Paul, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Cleveland, and Cincinnati most likely will not sell out all of their home stadium tickets this season.
The Jacksonville Jaguars are likely to have their entire home season blacked out.
The San Diego Chargers haven’t sold out any home games – and could also have most - if not all of its season off local TV.
You ask for the definition of desperation and I’ll give you the only reason the Vikes signed Brett Favre. They’re frantically taking a shot to goose up their anemic ticket sales.
It worked, almost. The Vikings moved 3,000 season tickets and 10,000 single-game tickets within 24 hours of the Favre signing announcement. They still have 7,000 unsold season tickets that’ll take some creative marketing to move.
Did anyone ever thinking of asking the Vikes why they had so many unsold tickets to begin with?
NFL rules call for a local market blackout of games that fail to sell out 72 hours before kickoff. No sell out, no TV, no exceptions.
Last season, 96 percent of home games were carried locally. The previous four seasons were at 95 percent. The all-time high was 97 percent in 2006, when everyone was still partyin’ like it was 1999.
It wasn’t always like this. Over 20 percent of home games were blacked out locally prior to that charmed decade when most were spending more money than they really had. You know, way back in 1999.
Now, the NFL’s getting a taste of the downward spiral.
Local CBS and FOX affiliate TV stations get an average 20+ rtg on a home team broadcast. Local spots go anywhere from $500 to $1000 per rating point. These stations stand to lose $10,000 to $20,000 per 30 second spot-depending on the market.
But don’t shed a tear for the NFL. They pulled off a deal with the nets that guarantee each team around $125 million a year. Heads they win, tails, you lose.
Unless you know someone who can pirate the games from a Slingbox or jerryrig the NFL on-line video feed or Direct Ticket, local radio will be the only place to get the play-by-play in real time in those problematic NFL markets.
There’s another problem. How many radio stations in to-be-blacked-out markets already filled most or all of their game inventory for the season making it too late to jack-up rates?
But at least it’s not TV.
Face it. TV is screwed, blewed, and tattooed on this one. Even if the local games are carried, TV’s been hit with a steep decline in auto and financial spot buys. Coincidentally, those two categories are among the NFL’s largest advertisers.
Yes, even the good days are bad.