An open letter to the San Diego Chargers:
This is a letter that I actually started to write as a result of the blackout from the home opener. I decided to finish it learning about another blackout due to the failure to sell enough tickets to the second home game.
I am a San Diego bankruptcy attorney and I help clients everyday with a variety of difficult financial circumstances. Many of my clients are victims of the economy and perhaps have suffered a job loss. Other clients made bad decisions such as a mortgage they could not afford or purchased too much on their credit regardless. I try to teach them to live within their means and try to apply those lessons in my own life. What this means is that I will rarely pay to see a game in person due to the high cost of tickets, parking, food, souvenirs and Lord knows what else. However, the blackouts of the first 2 home games is causing me to wonder if I will even watch another Charger game the rest of the year.
The NFL has a well known rule about keeping home games off local TV if the team doesn't sell all the tickets at least 72 hours before start time for the game. According an article by Tim Sullivan of the Union-Tribune, the cost to the Chargers to lift the blackout of the first home game would have been no more than $221,380.80. I did an little research and confirmed that NFL teams can lift the blackout if they pay the visiting team its share of the revenue for the unsold tickets. The visiting teams share is 34% of the face value of the ticket.
Although it would seem this cost (tax deductible to the Chargers) would have been offset by revenue generated from having the game on TV, the Chargers are apparently more interested in stubbornly holding onto the idea of more fans in the seats. With unemployment at more than 10% in San Diego, this is not about a city with a reputation for having “fair weather” fans, this is about the Chargers turning their backs on the fan base that will support their team even if they cannot afford to go to the game.
I am trying hard to find a good reason to watch a Charger game the rest of the season. It sure would be nice to hear from the organization about this.
About the Author: Carl H. Starrett II has been a licensed attorney since 1993 and is a member in good standing with the California State Bar, the San Diego County Bar Association and the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. Mr. Starrett practices in the areas of bankruptcy, business litigation, construction, corporate planning and debt collection.
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