Under intense pressure from fans, the NFL has decided to ease their TV blackout rules for the 2012-2013 season. Now, instead of a team requiring a sellout to be shown in local markets, they will have the option to televise their games once 85% of their tickets have been sold.
"It's optional if clubs want to do this and would only affect a few teams," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told NFL.com in an email. "Last year only 6 percent of games were blacked out in a local market. This figure is down significantly from 15 to 20 years ago when 25 to 30 percent of games were routinely blacked out."
Under this rule alteration, teams will provide more revenue to their opponents if the additional 15% of tickets are sold.
It's important to note that this may not eliminate or even decrease blackouts across the league as it's completely optional. However, in the event that a team decides to blackout a local market after failing to sell out their stadium, it will no longer fall on the shoulders of the NFL – any and all blame will fall at the feet of the owners.
In addition to easing TV blackout rules, the NFL will offer enhanced replay within the stadiums, allowing all fans in attendance to view the same replays that officials are viewing during challenges.
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