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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Jets going the way of '09 Bucs on the blackout front

The Jets are having major problems finding enough suckers to fork over the huge personal seat license fees associated with buying season tickets at the new stadium this season. The licenses reportedly start at $4,000 for lower-bowl seats and range well into the five-figure range for club seats. Then fans must pay for the actual price of their tickets on top of the fee.

Yet, owner Woody Johnson said this week that he can assure the fan base there won't blackouts.

Neil Best of Newsday did a little explaining of how that is possible with a story in today's editions. Though the Bucs have not and won't confirm how they did it, it's likely this is the method the Bucs used to have all their home games televised last season, despite huge patches of empty seats and lots of unsold tickets (NFL rules require games be sold out 72 hours before kickoff to be shown on local television).

Here's an excerpt from the article:

"The Jets have no intention of allowing their home games to be blacked out, even if it means writing a check to make the problem go away.

A person familiar with the team's plans said Wednesday that if they have to, the Jets can and will avoid blackouts simply by paying the NFL the visiting team's share of unsold tickets.

That figure is 34 percent of the face value -- a potentially expensive bill but one the Jets are prepared to swallow if they must.

Owner Woody Johnson would not confirm that aspect of the strategy yesterday but did confirm that regardless of whether games sell out, "we will not have a blackout.

The Jets remain adamant that it will not be an issue."

It always seems obvious the Bucs were buying out some amount of tickets last season, but this outlines the fact that there's an actual rule that governs the process.

Based on Bucs co-chairman Joel Glazer's prediction several weeks ago that there are likely to be blackouts this fall, it's safe to assume the Bucs have no plans to use this mechanism in 2010.

-- STEPHEN F. HOLDER, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 4:01pm]


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