NFL Teams Most Likely To Be Blacked Out In 2012
The Rams have had a few close calls in recent years, but have managed to stay on television in St. Louis. That's no small feat considering the team hasn't had a winning season since 2003 and hasn't made the playoffs since 2004, but now the team's looking for the city to make good on its promise to make the Edward Jones Dome a "first-tier" stadium by 2015. That means a roof with a sliding panel, a glass front instead of a brick exterior and re-routing a nearby street. Those plans, combined with luxury boxes, scoreboards, concessions and offices could bring the total to $700 million, with St. Louis on the hook for more than half of it.
Number of television blackouts last year: 0
Number of blackouts in the past five years: 8
The Lions clawed all the way back from their disastrous 0-16 season in 2008 to make the playoffs last year. They have young players such as Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh who should keep big numbers in the wins column for a long time.
That said, this franchise is on a short leash. It's made the playoffs once since 1999 and has had only two winning seasons since 2000. Detroit and economic troubles are almost synonymous and the Lions' battered fan base isn't just going to part with an average of $62 bucks per ticket just because the team still exists. The Lions seem to have turned their fortunes around, but this team knows too well that's it is only a few losses removed from the bad old days.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Number of television blackouts last year: 5
Number of blackouts in the past five years: 13
So the team sells out at 85% capacity now. That would be great, if 85% was the problem.
Attendance at eight of the team's 13 blacked-out games in the past two seasons has fallen below that 85% threshold. Reduced ticket prices may boost that bottom end a bit, but the team's slide from a 10-6 playoff contender in 2010 to a 4-12 team adrift last year certainly won't help matters. The Buccaneers have been the league's poster child for its post-recession reality and already blacked out a preseason game this year. If fans still turn out in the low 40,000s and games in Tampa are blacked out, the Bucs and the league in general may have bigger problems than a blackout rollback can fix.