Vikings lower bar on television blackouts

  • Updated: August 17, 2012 - 12:27 AM

Chances the Vikings will have home game blacked out on television this season evaporated when the team announced Thursday that it will reduce its blackout threshold to 90 percent of capacity. That means it will have to sell around 6,000 fewer seats at home games to avoid a blackout.

The team took advantage of a new NFL policy that allows teams flexibility to select a percentage between 85 and 100 percent of capacity. There are slight financial penalties for lowering the percentage.

Capacity at Mall of America Field at the Metrodome is 64,111, although in the past the official sellout number has been 62,000.

Oakland, Miami and Tampa Bay announced they would lower their thresholds to 85 percent of capacity.

On the Vikings website, Steve LaCroix, vice president of sales and marketing, said: "Our focus remains on selling every seat in Mall of America Field, and we will continue to work hard to achieve that. This flexibility, however, puts us in a better position to have our home games locally televised."

The NFL requires teams to sell out games 72 hours before kickoff to avoid blackouts. The Vikings had challenges over the past couple of seasons, including needing deadline extensions, but have officially sold out their past 144 games, dating to December 1997.

The team will lose revenue on seats sold past 90 percent of capacity. Home teams keep two-thirds of the revenue on ticket sales, with visiting teams taking one-third. After 90 percent, the Vikings must split that revenue 50-50.

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