That's because several markets -- Minnesota, San Diego, Jacksonville, Oakland, San Francisco, Detroit, St. Louis and Cincinnati Bengals -- may not sell out their home stadium tickets, all due to the suffering economy.
If that happens, the NFL might have to black out a number of TV games to inspire current and future home season ticket sales. The NFL has been so strong over the last few years -- in terms of TV viewers as well as stadium ticket sales -- it has been rare to see a blackout of local TV coverage.
One indication that times are tough comes from Minnesota. The Vikings still have a long way to go with season ticket sales, even with the newly signed big-name quarterback, Brett Favre.
The double whammy for TV stations comes from massive hits to their automotive and financial advertising, which also happen to be two of the biggest sports and NFL TV advertising categories.
While automotive has been cutting back, many domestic and import brands continue to buy TV sports, still hoping to target their core male consumers.
Now a bunch of TV stations won't even get a handful of valuable NFL home games to sell to those advertisers -- usually at very high advertising rates.
There isn't much of an alternative for TV stations right now.
Times are tough in so many other areas for TV stations, some might say all this goes with the territory of a weak economy. That perhaps it's better to get all bad news out of the way now, and look forward to reinventing their media businesses for 2010 and beyond.
If anything, the NFL example shows that even the strongest properties for local TV stations at times cannot be counted on, that new local advertising/marketing/programming alternatives are needed in the coming years.
Last Friday's TV Watch column, "The Gosselins, TV Advertisers, And The Reality of It All" incorrectly reported the worth of the Gosselins' home. It is $1.3 million, not $10 million.