ICYMI: NFL fans cheer blackout changes
My FOX Tampa Bay (July 2, 2012) - It was an unfortunate reality for Bucs fans the last two seasons: if you wanted to see the home team at Raymond James Stadium, you likely had to buy a ticket.
Thirteen of the last 16 home games were blacked out on television in the area. That may change after the NFL confirmed a Wall Street Journal report about new blackout rules.
Under a new rule, the home team would have the option of selling out at least 85 percent of their stadium to avoid a blackout. The previous rule was a full 100 percent sellout for games to go on local TV.
Fans say it's about time.
"It stinks that you can't watch your home team on TV if you can't make it to the games," said NFL fan Dennis McNulty.
But they aren't the only ones. Congressman Gus Bilirakis has been an opponent of the blackout rule for some time. In February, he and four other members of congress sent NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell a letter requesting the NFL get rid of the blackout rule altogether.
"We wrote the letter, we put some pressure, my constituents really wanted this in the worst way and I'm thrilled that the NFL listened to its fans," Bilirakis said.