NFL Blackout Rule Not Aided by Home HD
While it's a good thing that a lot of people who can't make it to an NFL game in-person, either because they can't afford it or don't want the hassle that it requires in many cities, now may have big-screen HD sets with surround sound to replicate the stadium experience, that's not a good thing for the teams themselves. Thus, the longstanding NFL blackout rule remains in play, even though it was conceived long before viewers found watching a game at home a pleasant alternative to going to the stadium.
The rule generally states that if an NFL game is not sold out 72 hours prior to kick-off, the game cannot be aired in its local market. Some markets have not seen this rule enforced locally in many years, while others (such as Jacksonville) could see it put to use several times in the current season. This is where the attraction of HD may be making it even more difficult for some teams to fill 70,000 or more seats at least eight times a year for home games.
According to The Sporting News, "If you consider High Definition telecasts that make it look like you're at the game, the need to actually go to the game becomes less important each year the technology advances. Add to the HD factor the concept of watching every game at once – like DirecTV boasts – or watching every single touchdown of the season – as the NFL's own Red Zone channel promises – and the NFL is giving you so many reasons to stay home and watch on TV, going to the stadium seems downright foolish."
So blame it all on HD, (especially if you're low on one of those long waiting lists in several cities to get season tickets).