When the NFL announced it would be softening its blackout policy in order to allow teams who sold 85% or more of their tickets to allow the game to still be broadcasted, it appeared as though Bengals fans would finally be able to escape the dreaded blackout that had become a plague to their favorite team the past two seasons. After having a record 57 consecutive regular-season and playoff sellouts, the Bengals have sold out just two of their last 10 regular-season home games. Last season they had four of the five least attended games in PBS history, including 41,142 against Buffalo. The Bengals averaged an NFL-low 49,251 fans, which was only 75% of the stadium’s capacity of 65,515.
This meant that ff you were a Bengals fan last year who didn’t attend home games on a regular basis, chances are, you were stuck without any way to watch the boys in stripes playing on NFL Sunday. All but two of the Bengals homes games last year were blacked out after the team failed to sellout those games, despite having a team who wound up being a playoff team. Even this new policy would not have prevented the majority of blacked-out Bengals games last season from avoiding that fate, as games were routinely halfway filled as fans were clearly through giving their hard earned cash to Mike Brown, only to see him repeatedly put a terrible product on the field while pocketing as much of the fans’ money as he could.
Well, things aren’t going to change anytime soon, as Mike Brown said today the Bengals will be sticking with the old blackout policy. He then stated that their goal is for 65,ooo tickets sold, I mean fans in the stands, and he will not settle for 55,000, which would have been the 85% threshold.
Consistently selling out Bengals games in the city of Cincinnati will prove to be very difficult going forward, given how badly the falling economy has affected Cincinnati, as well as a fan base that is still skeptical the team can ever win consistently with Mike Brown at the helm. To no surprise, Brown has no sympathy for fans. He wants your money, and he’s not going to do anything to jeopardize getting it.
Given Brown’s long history of low-balling Bengals fans, players, the city of Cincinnati, and everyone he seems to come into contact with, its really no surprise. Let’s just hope the Bengals come out strong this year and the fans sell out every game and not have to worry about blackouts.