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Clarifying blackout numbers for the Jags

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Since writing about the Jaguars' decision not to have their preseason television partner produce their two home preseason games, I've fielded some questions about what constitutes a sellout at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

Those two preseason games won't sell out, so they couldn't be telecast live under the league's blackout rules. The team and the network decided producing the games to air on tape-delay was not worth it.

But I was overly simplistic to indicate the team's blackout problems were about the tickets sold -- fewer than 40,000 per game at this point when adding up season tickets and half packs, but prior to single-game ticket sales -- measured against capacity (listed at 67,164).

I just talked with Tim Connolly, the team's vice president of business development, and asked him to spell out what constitutes a sellout in the rules regarding blackouts.

He said that number is 50,000, calling it "the general bowl." There are between 14,000 and 15,000 premiums seats as well -- suites, terrace suites and club seats. For the league's blackout purposes, 11,000 of those are "club seats" and do not count against the blackout total.

There are other wrinkles with the numbers there, obviously, since the 50,000 general bowl number plus the league's 11,000 club seats still don't get us to capacity.

But for our purposes, 50,000 is the key number. If the Jags can get there, they get on TV. If they can't, they don't.

And there is nothing going on in Jacksonville to suggest the Jaguars have a chance at getting to that number regularly, if at all. The team certainly isn't pretending like all will be well, though it says it's hardly alone in the challenges it's facing in the tough economy.

The Jaguars have time, and maybe they'll have a shot for the home opener against Arizona or for games against AFC South foes Indianapolis and Tennessee or for the Dolphins' visit. Things will have to be going awfully well for it to happen when St. Louis and Kansas City come to town.