A 2000 playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts was blacked out. In a disappointing 2011 season, the Dolphins frequently purchased remaining unsold seats themselves, or joined sponsors and the local television station in doing so, to ensure their home games were shown locally.
Dolphins CEO Mike Dee said the team hasn't made a decision on whether or not take advantage of the NFL's new blackout policy -- which reduces the number of seats a team must sell to 85 percent, but requires teams to share more revenue with visiting teams -- but said the team will do "everything we can" -- organically or otherwise -- to make sure its home games are on local television.
"Our goal is always to do everything we can to keep the games on local television," Dee said on Thursday. "And market and sell and do everything we can to sell as many tickets as possible, and hopefully get to that point in time when we can sell out the games organically."
Owner Stephen Ross has attempted to make Dolphins games an event, which hasn't drawn the fans. Last year's efforts to fill Sun Life Stadium included honoring the 2008 University of Florida football team at halftime of the Denver Broncos game when Tim Tebow was in town.
The decision to reduce the blackout threshold is approaching -- a preliminary deadline is Sunday, with a true deadline of Aug. 9, notes Volin -- but the Dolphins are pulling out all the stops to sell tickets, most notably opening their doors to NFL Films cameras for HBO's "Hard Knocks" series. That may help spur interest in the first few homes games -- it will help that Tebow and the Jets come to town on Sept. 23 -- but avoiding another 0-7 start and winning some games will keep those fans coming back.