Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's recent comments about more frequent local television blackouts for regular-season games sounded ominous for local fans unable or unwilling to attend games in person. The league suffered nine blackouts last season, including two for the Rams, but the Jaguars could account for eight by themselves this season.
A team-by-team look at blackout prospects in the NFC West:
Arizona: The Cardinals have sold out all eight exhibition games, all 24 regular-season games and both playoff games since University of Phoenix Stadium opened for the 2006 season. The economic downturn has hit Arizona hard, making it harder for the Cardinals to capitalize on their Super Bowl appearance. Home games against less attractive opponents -- Houston on Oct. 11, St. Louis on Dec. 27 -- could be vulnerable. The Cardinals do benefit from home games against the Packers and Vikings, teams with large national followings.
San Francisco: The 49ers have had to hustle to keep alive a sellout streak dating to the 1980s. They face several challenges: aging stadium, few star players, rough local economy and several losing seasons in a row. Home games against the Rams (Oct. 4), Texans (Oct. 25), Jaguars (Nov. 29) and Lions (Dec. 27) could be unattractive if the 49ers are not contending.
St. Louis: The Rams should benefit from playing their first three home games against the Packers (Sept. 27), Vikings (Oct. 11) and Colts (Oct. 25). Expect to see plenty of fans wearing opposing team's colors. The team has made $30 million in upgrades to its stadium, but a 5-27 record over the last two seasons generated lots of cynicism and skepticism locally.
Seattle: The Seahawks have built a strong fan base locally in recent seasons and they expect no blackouts despite home games against the Jaguars (Oct. 11) , Lions (Nov. 8) and Bucs (Dec. 20). As of Monday, the team had only 1,500 tickets remaining for its final exhibition game, a sign demand remains high. Single-game tickets do remain available on a limited basis.