The NFL relaxed its blackout rules this year, allowing games to be aired on local television as long as the home team sells 85 percent of its seats.
The decision came with a caveat, however. It remains up to each NFL team to decide if it wants to get on board or stay with the prior setup, which required a sellout. The Indianapolis Colts have emerged as an example of a team not open to relaxing the rules.
"We're a small-market team and we need people in the stadium," chief operating officer Pete Ward said, via a Tuesday story in The Indianapolis Star. "While we value all of our fans, our first priority is to protect the investment of paying customers."
We wrote last month about the Colts' struggle to sell season tickets in a post-Peyton Manning world. Ward said Tuesday there are 2,000 season tickets remaining, though he remains confident the tickets will be sold.
It's easy to label this as some gross PR slip-up, but let's see how many other teams come to the same decision as the Colts. According to Indy Star columnist Bob Kravitz, teams that agree to the "85 percent rule" must split profits with the visiting team on every ticket that goes beyond the 85 percent threshold.
That can obviously lead to substantial money losses. We doubt too many teams will be interested in putting themselves in that position.