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NFL plans to show blacked-out games online

The league will show games online for free beginning at midnight the day of the game, and they'll be available for 72 hours. Blacked-out games are expected to increase because of poor economy.

September 11, 2009|Sam Farmer

The NFL, bracing for an uptick in TV blackouts this season, plans to use its website to rebroadcast those games on a delayed basis.

Games that are blacked out in home-team markets will be shown in their entirety for free on a delayed basis on NFL.com. The rebroadcasts will be available beginning at midnight on the day of the game and will remain on the site for 72 hours, except during "Monday Night Football" telecasts.

"We understand that the economy is limiting some families and corporations from buying as many game tickets as they had previously," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a written statement. "These free rebroadcasts on NFL.com will allow our fans that can't get to a blacked-out game an opportunity to see the entire game."

The league also sells an NFL Game Rewind package, which makes all games available on an on-demand subscription basis through the 2009 season and postseason.

Although only nine of 256 games were blacked out last season, many more are expected to be off the local airwaves this year because of lagging ticket sales and season-ticket renewals.

Goodell has ruled out lifting or relaxing the long-standing policy of blacking out games that fail to sell all general-admission tickets within 72 hours of kickoff. He said the league's worst-case projections are that 80% of games will sell out this season, whereas the average this decade is 92%.

-- Sam Farmer

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