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Jags can remove tarps without changing blackout number


The Jacksonville Jaguars have decided not to take advantage of the provision in the new blackout rule that allows the minimum number of tickets to be dropped from 100 percent to 85 percent. But they could be utilizing a tweak that permits them to remove the tarps from time to time in 2012.

Previously, the Jaguars were prohibited from de-tarping Everbank Field on a piecemeal basis. A source with knowledge of the situation tells PFT that the Jags now have the ability to remove tarps depending on demand.

If they choose to lift the tarps, the Jaguars would have to surrender 50 percent of every dollar generated by the sale of the otherwise covered seats.

As a practical matter, it means that the Jags are indirectly using the new blackout rule, as it relates to the tarped seats. The magic number for avoiding a blackout comes from the non-tarped non-premium seats. The Jaguars then can go higher than that number by removing tarps and in turn paying a higher piece of the gross revenues to the visiting teams’ pool.

“Stay tuned, because to me, we’ve got to start taking the tarps off,” Jags owner Shahid Khan told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports on Friday night. “I look at that and it frankly sucks my energy. I really don’t want to subscribe to excuse-making and talk about the challenges of the market -- I just want to solve the problem. And if we can take them down for two games this season, or even one game, it’s progress.”

The problem is that not many games currently stand out as obvious candidates for a huge crowd. The home opener against the Texans could be attractive, but the best chance of lifting the tarps comes from being and staying competitive over the course of the marathon that is the NFL season, along with the national following of the given opponent.

For now, we plan to keep an eye on the November 4 visit from the Lions (which will be the Jaguars’ first home game in four weeks), the December 9 game against the Jets, and the December 23 contest with the Patriots as possible candidates for Khan to realize his vision of getting the tarps out of his sight.