Vikings officials: To avoid local TV blackouts, Metrodome will have to be full againPublished 11:27am Thursday, September 5, 2013
To avoid blackouts this season, the Vikings will have to sell out their home games the old-fashioned way.
Last season, the team took advantage of the NFL’s relaxed rules to ensure all of its games were locally televised. But with the team coming off a 10-6 season and playoff berth, vice president and chief marketing officer Steve LaCroix said “strong” advanced sales persuaded the Vikings to revert to full capacity at the 64,216-seat Metrodome to define a sellout.
“We did not alter our manifest this season due to our (2012 season); season, group and single-game ticket sales being strong,” he wrote in an email.
LaCroix said the Oct. 27 game against Green Bay has only scattered single seats remaining, but the other six games, including the Sept. 22 home opener against Cleveland, have ticket blocks available. (Minnesota’s Sept. 29 game against Pittsburgh in London is considered a home game).
The Vikings were among four teams last year that lowered their sellout threshold after the NFL allowed teams to sacrifice ticket revenue to avoid TV blackouts, reducing “capacity” at the Metrodome by 10 percent — or about 6,000 seats.
The move allowed Minnesota’s first three home games — against Jacksonville, San Francisco and Tennessee —to be televised locally when they otherwise would have been blacked out.
Fans packed the Metrodome for the final five games as the Vikings made a late playoff push. Minnesota has not had a game blacked out since Dec. 14, 1997.
By opting to lower the threshold, however, the Vikings were bound to split revenue earned above the 90 percent threshold with the league instead of retaining the standard 66 percent.
“It was absolutely the right decision,” LaCroix said earlier this year. “We knew if we had success on the field, things would go better in the ticket office. We had a good year, and we had to leave some money on the table. But it was worth it.”
Only the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have said publicly they would opt for a lower sellout threshold again in 2013.
The Bucs had six of eight regular-season games blacked out in 2012 despite lowering capacity to the minimum 85 percent at 66,000-seat Raymond James Stadium. Only four of the Bucs’ past 29 home games have been televised locally.