Dolphins Using New Blackout Rule

The Dolphins haven't had a home game blacked out on local television in more than a decade, and they're doing everything they can to keep that streak alive. Team CEO Mike Dee said Friday the Dolphins will take full advantage of the NFL's new blackout policy and lift blackouts if 85 percent of the general seats are sold by the deadline.

The new policy allowed teams the flexibility to decide what percentage of seats other than suite or club seats needed to be sold 72 hours prior to kickoff for the blackout to be lifted. Teams could stay at 100 percent as in years past or go down to any percentage as low as 85.

The Dolphins have 60,500 seats in the 100 and 400 levels, therefore need to sell a little over 51,000 to lift the local TV blackout.

The new policy goes into effect with tonight's preseason opener against Tampa Bay, which will be shown live in South Florida.

"Pretty basic straightforward reason for doing it is we want to continue what we've done the last three years, which is do everything we can to keep the games on local television," Dee said. "We took a lot of tickets last year and redistributed them to season-ticket holders to keep the games on local television. This new policy, we think, is a proven and smart thing to do to make sure we keep the games available locally. We're going to take advantage of it."

As Dee mentioned, the Dolphins ended up buying a lot of their own tickets last year to keep games on local television.

The end result is the Dolphins haven't had a home game blacked out locally since the 2000 playoff thriller against Indianapolis. The last regular season home game not shown live in South Florida was a 14-0 shutout of the St. Louis Rams all the way back in 1998.

The Dolphins sold 42,584 season tickets last season, but Dee said the team is on pace to surpass that number in 2012.

Dee also said the Dolphins already have sold 8,000 new season tickets this year, most of them since the draft.

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