The Vikings have become the fourth NFL team to opt in on the NFL’s new blackout threshold policy, a rule put in place this year to help teams avoid local TV blackouts caused by slow ticket sales. Per the rule, teams may set a percentage of non-premium tickets that must be sold in order for a game to be considered a “sell-out” for blackout purposes. That percentage may be set as low as 85%.
The first three teams to adopt the new policy, the Dolphins, Buccaneers and Raiders, all opted for the lowest possible percentage. On Thursday the Vikings announced that they will set their so-called ticket manifest a little higher, at 90% of capacity. That means the Vikings can come up short in sales by 6,000 seats each week and still avoid a Twin Cities TV blackout. Good news for the local TV affiliates who now won’t have to worry about buying up extra tickets just so they can run the Vikings.
You might be wondering why every team wouldn’t adopt this policy automatically. It’s simple. The NFL has set it up so the home team is penalized for every ticket they sell above the set threshold. If the Vikings sell over 90% in a given week, they must now fork over 16 cents more on every dollar earned to the visiting team. You see now why most teams are not willing to opt in on this policy. The rule exists only to protect teams that are nervous about blackouts. Most teams aren’t nervous because most teams sell out every game without issue.
So why would the Vikings be concerned about blackouts? They haven’t had any blackouts in recent years – the last one was in 1997, in fact – but they have had a few weeks where it came close. Clearly, they must’ve been concerned that the team would be bad and fans would stay away from the Dome. Now at least they’re covered in the event things really go south. Unless of course they can’t even sell out 90% of the Dome. Which would be really, really sad.
And if they can’t fill the Dome to 90%? I don’t know, maybe lower the price of tickets? Just a suggestion?