The NFL announced a one-year suspension of the dreaded television blackout rule today. It's a rule that's frustrated Atlanta Falcons fans over the years. Because Atlanta is a city with a large transplant population, the Falcons have sometimes struggled to sell out their home games. They've largely fixed that problem in recent years, relying heavily on corporate "sponsorships."
As a reminder, the rule required a "blackout" (i.e., no television broadcasting) of games that weren't "sold out" (85 percent of tickets sold) 72 hours before kickoff. That deadline was occasionally flexed, permitting 48 and 24 hour cutoffs instead. In short, it was deliberate coercion by the NFL to sell a few extra tickets. While it's just a one-year hiatus, there's significant support for a permanent ban.
The Bengals actually voted against the one-year suspension. In their defense, there was a revenue-sharing floor tied into the vote, and apparently that was their qualm.
Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and San Diego Chargers may ruin this for everyone. They're the teams that may see an attendance drop off sans the possibility of a blackout. If that happens, this experiment could fail miserably. So let's just hope the Raiders leave their infamous tarps in place, because let's be honest, nobody wants those seats anyway.