Last year, the percentage of seats filled at Sun Life Stadium for Dolphins games was the second lowest in the NFL. The team still managed to get around the league's blackout rule, which requires 100 percent of tickets to be sold before the game could be broadcast on local television, by partnering with CBS4 and Anheuser-Busch to buy up those remaining tickets. This weekend the NFL decided to finally soften the controversial blackout rule, but the Dolphins may still face obstacles getting their games on TV regularly.
The Dolphins aren't the only team to have recent trouble avoiding blackouts, and the NFL has finally taken notice. According to the Wall Street Journal, teams can now set their blackout benchmark at as low as 85 percent. Though, if the team sets a low benchmark and regularly exceeds it, they will be forced to share more of that extra revenue.
This is good news, but probably doesn't mean the Dolphins won't be scrambling to "sell" remaining tickets by the blackout deadline.
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The average actual attendance at last year's games was just 81 percent. Only the Cincinnati Bengals, with 75.2 percent average attendance, hit a lower mark. (Though, the Dolphins only had the fifth lowest attendance in terms of actual numbers of tickets sold).
The NFL is also looking to add more excitement to the in stadium experience to help boost falling ticket sales across the league. WiFi will be installed in all stadiums, and the league will develop apps so audiences can actually hear the words of players wearing microphones. The league will also allow teams to play more videos to rile up the crowd, and stadium announcers will be able to add a bit more personality to their words.
Though, the league nor the team at this point can't really do much more to convince people to drive all the way up to a "football" stadium compromised to also accommodate baseball and soccer in Miami Gardens to watch a flailing team that has been utterly directionless ever since Dan Marino retired.