"We’re going to stick with the old rule. What we want to see are sold out houses and we want the stadium full with 65,000-plus people. We don’t want to get to just 85 percent or 55,000. If you think back when they passed the sales tax to finance the stadiums they did it so people could come downtown to the stadiums and watch games. They didn’t do it so people could sit at home and watch games on television. They could have done that without a new stadium. So I think it is best for us and when I look around the league I can see most teams staying with the old rule."
That's from Mike Brown during the Cincinnati Bengals training camp media luncheon on Tuesday. It's also a declaration that the Cincinnati Bengals are not taking advantage of the league's relaxation on overall capacity to ensure more sell outs (and thus more blackouts). Team are allowed to set benchmarks by no more than 85 percent (of non-premium tickets). Long story short. Nothing will change. If they're not selling games out like last season, or the season before that, then those games will be blacked out locally.
Due to the team's ticket sales, which has already sold out the single-game allotment against the Steelers and Cowboys, it was expected Cincinnati would follow other teams that's already rejected the relaxed blackout rule. As of this writing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers remain the only team that's reduced their capacity to 85 percent.
And in truth we don't blame Brown. It's his money. Every ticket sold above the reduce capacity would be like a hole in the proverbial wallet, with the home team's ticket revenue (over the capacity) going from 66 cents on the dollar to 50 cents. It's the same reason that virtually every team has rejected the change in the first place and the reason United States Senators sent a letter to Roger Goodell.
Though we're fairly certain this won't help the long-standing feud with Bengals fans.