Originally posted on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/3/12

With the NFL finalizing its altered blackout rule, pressure is now on the Buffalo Bills to make the sellout threshold as close to the minimum 85 percent as possible.

 

NFL spokesman Brian MCCarthy said Monday the league ratified the altered blackout threshold at its league meetings in May. The new rule allows clubs to air a home game locally without selling out. Clubs can determine their own capacity threshold for airing a game as long as it's no lower than 85 percent. The lower the threshold, he said, the more gate revenue would be turned over to the visiting team.

That possible financial snag had Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo and others urging the Bills to stick to 85 percent:

"Twenty years ago, you went to a stadium, there was no stadium advertisement, so why would you want to compromise the space, the advertising space within the stadium by denying access to millions of viewers?"

Ralph Wilson Stadium, with a capacity of 73,079, is one of the largest stadiums in the NFL. At the 85 percent threshold, the Bills would have to sell 62,117 seats in order to have a game air in the Buffalo/Niagara Falls area.

That would be a help to a fan base that's had six games blacked out over the past two seasons – although it would not have been enough to keep the final three games of 2011 on television. Home games against the Tennessee Titans (56,463 in attendance), Miami Dolphins (60,988) and Denver Broncos (45,112) all still would have been blacked out. But, with a lower threshold, perhaps more fan interest would have been created, or a sponsor would have bought up the remaining seats.

The Bills declined comment. McCarthy said clubs have the option not to take part, and that teams won't declare their thresholds until the middle or end of July.

Be sure to check out other great articles at Sports Media 101.

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