Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBS4) – The Miami Dolphins teetered on the edge of not being able to be broadcast locally due to poor ticket sales several times last year. Local advertisers came to the Fins’ rescue, but a new NFL policy may help the Dolphins avoid a need for that in 2012.
For games to be shown locally, the NFL has previously required that 100 percent of non-premium tickets to be sold. If the tickets weren’t sold and local advertisers and other businesses couldn’t buy up the remaining tickets, the team could buy them for pennies on the dollar to ensure a broadcast.
This year, the NFL is allowing teams to drop the blackout requirement down to 85 percent. That would mean for the Dolphins, they would have to sell 51,128 tickets rather than 60,500 for home games to be shown in Miami, according to Fins CEO Mike Dee, via profootballtalk.com.
Dee told profootballtalk.com, “We have one of the largest seating capacities in the NFL and know there is still work to be done in order to get every home game on local TV. However, this will help us in our efforts to achieve that goal.”
According to profootballtalk.com, the new blackout rule states that anytime the Fins sell more than 85 percent of the stadium, they give the visiting team 50 percent of the value of those tickets. So, if the Dolphins sell more than 51,128 tickets for a game, the team will hand out 50 percent of the value of the tickets above that mark.
After a miserable 2011 campaign, the Dolphins are widely expected to struggle this season. Plus, with the Miami Heat starting up in October, along with an improved Panthers team; getting fans to pluck down premium dollars for a rebuilding Fins team may be a tall order.
Dee said the team will still sell all the seats in the stadium and hopes to sell out as many games as possible in 2012. Still, the reality is the Dolphins are fully prepared to see a lot of empty seats this season.
But, winning cures everything when it comes to professional sports in South Florida. If the Fins can get off to a fast start and put together some wins, the empty seats will get filled quite quickly.
With a couple of solid quarterbacks, a vastly improved offensive line, and a veteran defense, anything is possible on any given Sunday.