Bengals choose to use relaxed NFL blackout rule - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

More Bengals games could be on TV this season

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CINCINNATI (FOX19) -

The chances of watching a Cincinnati Bengals home game on television this season just got better.

The team is accepting an NFL option to have blackouts lifted when 85 percent of non-premium tickets are sold at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals made the announcement Wednesday, deciding to opt-in to the NFL's blackout rule for the first time.

"We're going to stay with the old rule," Bengals owner Mike Brown said in 2012.  "We want to sell out the whole stadium, not 85 percent of it."

Fast-forward to two years later, and Brown points to the fact that sales are "not as strong to date as (they'd) like."

"Even under the 85 percent plan, we will need a strong sales from this point to get games on TV. But the option is helpful, and we are continuing with a maximum sales effort," Brown added.

"The thought process is simple -- we want the games sold out for local TV so as many fans as possible can watch," said Andrew Brown, Bengals director of ticket sales. "Having games on TV locally does not benefit the club financially, but it's in the best interest of the fan base, and we believe it's in the club's best interest as well to make local broadcasts more achievable."

Clubs must accept or decline the option for the full season. The 85 percent rule will be in effect for all eight home games. The full stadium capacity of 55,449 for non-premium seats will be remain available for sale.

Under the option, the Bengals agree to accept a decreased share of revenue should sales go beyond the 85 percent level. Club seats and suite seats are not factored in consideration for local TV coverage.

The home opener is against Atlanta on Sept. 14, with the Bengals looking for a 10th straight regular-season home win, which would tie a franchise record set in 1988-89.

NFL rules continue to mandate that for blackouts to be lifted, games must meet sellout requirements 72 hours before kickoff. The Bengals home market covers the metro areas of Cincinnati, Dayton, and Lexington, Ky.

The deadline for the Atlanta game will be 1 p.m. on Sept. 11.

The strongest ticket sales to date have been for Dec. 7 vs. Pittsburgh and for Monday night, Dec. 22, vs. defending AFC champion Denver.

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