Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 7/2/12

For Indianapolis Colts fans more accustomed to settling into their recliner on Sunday afternoons to watch the Colts than a seat at Lucas Oil Stadium, the NFL's new guidelines for local television blackouts will come as a welcome bit of news.

Under the old system, each NFL team has to sell out all of their non-premium tickets 48 hours prior to kick off for the network broadcast of the game to be available in the home market. Under the new rules, team can now set their own threshold, as long as at least 85% of tickets are sold for a given game.

The Colts had enjoyed a sellout streak dating back to September of 2003. With a number of season ticket packages still left unsold, there was a concern that the streak would come to an end, leaving TV viewers unable to see the Colts play. 

This rule is particularly meaningful to Indianapolis, which draws from a smaller metropolitan area, but a larger regional fan base. Fans in places like Fort Wayne and Terre Haute are far enough away from Indianapolis that making eight trips per season to see the Colts might be prohibitive. Those cities are in the TV market, however, meaning that if the Colts games weren't sold out, the games wouldn't air there. Even with an NFL Sunday Ticket package, blackouts are in effect in local markets.

The Colts have yet to announce what their threshold will be. They are already over the 85% mark in seats sold. Unless the team raises that mark, Colts fans who can't make it to Lucas Oil on Sundays will still be able to follow Andrew Luck and the new look Colts team.

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

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