All Blacked Out?

It seems like a foregone conclusion that the Jaguars could have 10 of their home games blacked out this season, but that shouldn't come as much of a surprise to those who follow the Jaguars.

The Jacksonville Jaguars announced last week that they expect for all 10 home games to be blacked out this season. This isn't much of a surprise to anyone close to or far away from the Jaguars situation. With reportedly only holding on to 35,000-40,000 season ticket holders, that leaves the Jaguars needing to sell about 20,000 plus tickets per game to avoid a black out, a tough task for any team.

This isn't a situation only in Jacksonville, so despite the national jabs and jokes, Jaguar fans shouldn't panic... yet. Wayne Weaver is making a statement to the city of Jacksonville this season. In past, he has bailed the city out and put the game on television despite not meeting the blackout number. Weaver is making the stand now that if the city of Jacksonville doesn't want to buy the tickets, it won't be on television. Personally, I think Mr. Weaver waited too long to make this stand, but I believe the stand is necessary for the long term future of the franchise. While many will argue that it hurts the franchise by not letting the game on television and limiting the exposure, people in Jacksonville know there is a game going on. They don't need it to be on television to know it's football season and the Jaguars are playing. Fans in town need to know that a little more is required to keep the city in Jacksonville, because if Jacksonville loses this franchise it will not get another one, plain and simple. Many will argue Jacksonville is a "college football town", but the Jaguars consistently dwarf the University of Florida, Florida State, and Georgia in the television ratings. It's difficult to believe that Jacksonville has 40,000 people making an exodus from Jacksonville every Saturday to all 3 schools in the vicinity, either. Wayne Weaver has been steadfast about being committed to Jacksonville for the long haul, but this is only an attainable goal if the city of Jacksonville complies.

There are multitudes of reasons that the Jaguars are facing these up coming black outs. It's not an isolated incident. The San Diego Chargers recently had their preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks blacked out. While it's only a preseason game, for a team like San Diego who is amongst the Super Bowl favorites this year, it lets people around the country know this is a nationwide issue. The AFC East champion Miami Dolphins hosted a playoff game, and had that game blacked out. The NFL Pro-Bowl in Hawaii was nearly blacked out. As many as 12 teams in the NFL this season could face black outs, and such is the product of the current recession.

We've all heard the multitude of excuses from people as to why they don't and why the would buy tickets. Frankly, the biggest culprit is the size of Jacksonville's stadium. Without the tarps that currently cover up roughly 10,000 seats, the Jaguars would have the 4th largest stadium (capacity wise) in the entire NFL. That's insane. Even with the tarps Jacksonville Municipal Stadium still holds more than places like Soldier Field, the brand new Lucas Oil Stadium, the new University of Phoenix Stadium, Heinz Field, Qwest Field, and Raymond James Stadium. In fact, of the 20 stadiums with higher capacity than Jacksonville Municipal with the tarps, only 10 of those were built after Jacksonville, and only 2 stadiums would be larger and more recent than Jacksonville, Dallas and Washington. Seems most teams realize that the smaller the better, especially with the black out rule.

All I can say to Jacksonville Jaguar fans is be patient, weather the storm, and buy tickets if you can. We've heard the cry of "I'll buy tickets if...," but frankly most of those people have never and will never buy or own season tickets. First it was there are no cup holders on the seats. Then it was fire Tom Coughlin. Then it was cut Byron Leftwich. Now the cry is Tim Tebow. If the Jacksonville Jaguars continue this trend of trying to please the vocal minority who likely isn't going to buy tickets anyway, they might as well pick up and leave. Winning will bring in the fans. The Jaguars need to continue to rebuild their roster and get back to winning. Winning will sell tickets, not Tim Tebow.

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