Suitor: It is time to end blackouts

I agree with him totally. I don't like blackouts. I have been saying for long, and don't tell me the CFL is gate-driven league.
As Suitor says "Never have I planned an evening with my family or friends around whether or not a sporting event was blacked out, and I suspect that not many people - if any - ever have. You either plan your night to go and watch a ball game or go to the theater or a movie, or you plan to stay in and watch a little TV, read a book or maybe rent a flick."

I think it's false to assume people who go to games wouldn't if the game was not blacked out. It's time to abolish this practice!

Then, there are those who can't afford to buy season tickets or can't physically get to a game. And don't even get me started on the possible marketing opportunities when you show hundreds of thousands of potential new customers your product on what, when it is right, can become the best three and half hour commercial you will ever get. Some owners will argue that it costs them thousands of dollars to lift a blackout, but I wonder how much it would cost to run a three and a half hour advertisement promoting your product on national TV.

It is time to move into the 21st Century and get rid of this ancient practice. The CFL is a great product. It is most entertaining when you are there in person, soaking up the atmosphere, painting your face and cheering so loud for your favorite team that they actually get a competitive advantage. The Riders vs. Stamps game was a great example of that and so was the Labour Day rematch, but the time has passed where the league has to continue to influence fans to attend in person. It just doesn't make any sense anymore to deprive your fans of this great product. In fact, in realit, it never did make any sense.

Let's not forget that in a small league were there's 4 games a weak. You have one bad game because Toronto is playing. Then you potentially have a blackout in you market...that leaves what? TWO games a week, and maybe not everyone can watch it. To me the CFL is losing potential viewers by blacking out games.

Agree, Disagree?

I just can't make it to the game today and now I can't watch it.

i agree. blackouts are stoopid. i hate them. i dont even live close to calgary. this is why so many of us use FTA satelite recievers. wich should be up and running sometime in the next couple weeks. or if i do it legal, i would go to a pub. not the stadium. blackouts move fans away from the cfl. not towards. good for sutor to stand up and say something. put the blame back on the owners. why does it cost thousands to lift a blackout? just ticket sales?

Yes, antiquated thinking, I believe. The league lost a generation of fans in southern Ontario this way when both Toronto and Hamilton were blacked out if either one was playing at home.

Friends of mine stopped in Claresholm (70 miles s of Calgary) to watch the games last week. Blacked out.

I don't like blackouts either, but every CFL team which has repeatedly lifted the blackouts with their stadium not being sold out, have gone BANKRUPT.

CFL teams receive only 5% to 15% of their total revenue from the TV contract.

Yes, GernB, the CFL did lose fans because of the SECONDARY BLACKOUTS a few decades back. The league's policy then was to blackout the home team if there was another CFL game on the same day. But they did away with those blackouts years ago. Now you can watch an away game in the afternoon and go to a live game in the pm. The current CFL blackout policy is very similar to the NFL.

Home fans can still watch all their teams away games on TV and about 60 other CFL games each season, and even watch theirhome games on TV if their stadium is 90% soldout.

Most sports fans have a broadband connection. Watch it online.

I don’t know what it is you’re referring to, Xvys, about secondary blackouts. But in the '80s, we in Hamilton couldn’t watch Argo home games. If Montreal was playing in Toronto, Ticat fans had to either buy tickets, listen to it on a Toronto radio station, or wait to get the score on the news or in the paper. During that time, Ticat attendance went from around 30,000 to around 17,000. Other teams suffered similar dropoffs in ticket sales. Yeah, blackouts work. They nearly worked the CFL right out of existence.

Our fear of the blackout has nothing to do with our love of TV contract money. It is a fear that blacking out games will reduce attendance, AS IT HAS IN THE PAST, and bankrupt our teams. The old Montreal Alouettes had their games blacked out, as did the Concordes. So did the Rough Riders. No team has ever gone bankrupt as a result of lifting blackouts.

Last year, the Cats chose to black out two games. They declared well in advance which games those would be. Those games had the lowest attendance of any on the schedule. And somehow we’re expected to believe that blackouts increase attendance? Even Ticat president Scott Mitchell, who still stubbornly insists that blackouts work, agreed to lift all blackouts this season.

If I don’t want to go to a game, the inability to watch the game on television won’t draw me there. And if I want to go to a game, the availability of it on TV won’t keep me away. Blacking out games doesn’t mean that people who don’t want to go will run out and buy tickets; it means that they won’t see it. They’ll watch something else. They’ll watch NFL. They’ll learn to like it, because it’s the only football they can watch. Then, when an NFL team comes to town, they’ll spend their money to go see it. They’ll buy season tickets for that NFL team when it relocates to Toronto. After the corporate community shifts their sponsorship money to the more-popular NFL, the CFL will gradually die. Aaah, blackouts!

We've been fortunate in Saskatchewan - this year and last and have not had any blackouts because of strong ticket sales. However, when there is a blackout the whole province is in blackout not just the Regina viewing area. This prevents may people that could never make the trip to Regina for a home game from seeing the game. Do away with the blackouts.

I know owners go on and on about rewarding their ticket buying fans and that some claim, like Bob Young, that blackouts help selling more tickets and in a ticket driven league, this is necessary. Well, then that tells me it's time to go back to the drawing board with all factors on the table, salary management system, TV rights, playing rosters etc. and find a solution and answers so that the CFL never blacks out another game. Expose to the CFL, most sports, is the same as location in real estate I'm thinking.

The blackouts are ridiculous. I think that each team is required to lift the blackouts for 2 of their homegames. It should be the other way around - a team can only blackout AT MOST 2 games each season.

I'm lucky... I have Shaw Direct satellite TV. There are no blackouts on there & I haven't missed a game in a long long time. But my opinion is: Blackouts = fewer fans. I try to get out to as many games as I can, but I live 3 hours from Toronto so I don't get to as many as I would like. My ability to watch games on TV has absolutely zero effect on my desire to go see games in person. In fact, quite the opposite is true. If I suddenly couldn't watch all the games due to blackouts, I would become ticked off at the league & might be mad enough to stop watching. It pains me to say that, because I LOVE the CFL more than any other league/sport in the world... But if you mess with my ability to watch it, I could just stop watching it.

Even though blackouts still occur, its a lot better than it used to be.. when the Riders went on the road we saw only 2 or 3 of their games on TV.. so for TSN to show most if not all of the Rider home games over the last 2 or 3 season is good news for the fans that can't get to TF for games. There may be a little step that needs to be taken to end the blackouts, but it has come a long way since the days of only being able to watch the Riders on TV for only 4 or 5 times in a season.

I have HD TV, and it’s the Toronto feed, so games here aren’t blacked out anyways…

my understanding is bell hd is out of toronto, so thats why i didnt get any blackouts this year after i got hd. is this true? kinda ruins blackouts a little bit.

Lift the blackouts, which increases ad revenue in the teams home markets. Bump up the TV contracts because of the additional local market revenue.

Honestly, if you are a fan and want to go to the game you will. It makes no, or very little difference if is on TV or not.

All it is in this day and age is a loss of ad revenue and exposure for the league.

who keeps voting yes to blackouts? either argo or als fan.

I think that blackout rules should be modified to fit individual stadiums. For larger venues, if the advanced ticket sales are 25% above league-wide attendance figures, they should be forced to lift the blackout. For smaller ones if you pass the average at all you should be required to lift it. If not that, then teams should be forced to remove the blackout for an additional game. ( I believe as of now teams must lift the blackout for 2 games). However, the networks must do their part as well. They must come forward with more money in order to soften the blow from any lost ticket revenue. A TV contract in access of $20 million a season would be a great start.

Hogwash. No blackouts period.

Blackouts are supposed to get people to the stadium? I don’t get it how could this possibly work?

Blackouts turn people off, take the game away & people will just go find a different game.

From my point of view if Sask were to start blackouts goodbye I’m not gonna waste my time period. If you want my support you have to give me something for it, if you decide you wanna take that away (blackout) I’ll give you 1, if you give me 2 blackouts goodbye you are not worthy of my support.

On second thought even 1 blackout would be enough for me to start thinking twice.

Hay hang on here I would have to pay to see these games in the 1st place as in cable. As it is I go to a buddy’s place to watch the games. (my TV hasn’t been turned on since the Riders won the cup.)
Ok so we’re paying to watch our team play but the owners decide they wanna blackout the game? no no no no oh no I ain’t gonna stand for that.

I agree. I find it funny no one has posted who agrees with blackouts. Interesting.

I voted against ending blackouts and posted my reasons. Teams which continually lift the blackouts when their stadium isn't soldout have a bad habit of going bankrupt.

Those teams saw their season ticket base evaporate. Whether that was due to the non-blackouts or just crummy teams, who can say? But are you willing to take the gamble these franchises won't end up like the previous owner's in Ottawa, Toronto and Hamilton, who did lift the blackouts with half empty stadiums?

Not so surprisingly, the teams which enforce blackouts when their stadium isn't soldout have strong season ticket bases, like BC, Edm, Cal & Sask. Or is that just a coincidence?

Blackouts are automatically lifted when 90% of the seats are sold 24 hours before gametime. Blackouts apply to an 50-75 km area around the stadium.

How backward and stupid the NFL is for sticking with their blackout policy, which is more restrictive than the CFL's. :roll: