The Browns are among the teams that won’t take advantage of the NFL’s new relaxed blackout policy.
The policy gives teams the option to decrease the number of non-premium seats they must sell to avoid a local TV blackout to as low as 85 percent. By passing on a chance to lower the threshold, the Browns must continue to sell out home games 72 hours before kickoff, unless a deadline extension is granted, to ensure they’re televised locally.
“It’s a non-issue for us,” said Neal Gulkis, the Browns’ vice president of media relations. “Our fan support has been tremendous, and we fully expect that all of our games will be sold out and televised locally.”
The Browns have not had a home game blacked out since the final game of the 1995 season, after the franchise’s move to Baltimore was announced, but there have been some close calls. During the 2009 season, the Browns averted four blackouts by purchasing tickets along with some of their sponsors and television partners.
If a team takes advantage of the new policy, it must give the visiting club 50 cents on the dollar for every ticket sold above the lowered threshold. Visiting teams normally receive 34 cents on the dollar for each ticket sold.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, Tennessee Titans, San Diego Chargers, Buffalo Bills and Indianapolis Colts have also passed on the new policy, according to reports. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced they will take advantage of it.