I was watching the Houston at Jacksonville football game this afternoon and noticed something unusual about the stadium. The end sections of the upper deck seats seemed to be covered in some sort of material (or the seats were removed). What is the purpose of this? If it was advertising, it wasn’t very effective since I can’t name an advertiser on these sections. It seems that would be a rather expensive ad – selling the seats would be more valuable. Was the demand for seats in the stadium low for the Texans game, so they closed those sections to compress the crowd? Are those sections structurally unsound?
I don’t know if it’s the case for Jax specifically, but it’s not an unknown tactic for teams with attendance problems to try to get their games on TV. The NFL has a home-market blackout rule, preventing local broadcasts of games that are not sold out, in order to promote ticket sales. If that becomes a habit, and the locals only get to see half of their own team’s games, fan interest can dwindle over time.
So a team with a large stadium in a small market (Jax is one, so is New Orleans) can simply cover over a few sections of seats, subtracting them from the stadium’s official capacity, so home games can be more readily “sold out” and televised.
Any observations about the comparative silliness of that practice vs. that of the blackout rule that induces it should be directed to Commissioner Tagliabue.
I hadn’t thought of that. That makes sense (blocking the seats – not the blackout rule).