The Chargers play their first pre-season game at the Q on Saturday night. But, unless you're sitting inside the stadium, you won't see Nate Kaeding kick the ball off at 7:05 p.m. Nope, you'll have to wait until after the game is over, and then watch it on tape delay, meaning it won't end on TV until well after midnight.
For this, we can thank the NFL and another one of its stupid rules. The “Not Caring about Fans” League says that if a team doesn't sell enough tickets for a game, it's blacked out in that team's market. It's basically a way to squeeze more money out of fans. So, people in Hawaii will see the Chargers game live. People in Oceanside won't.
There are plenty of things horribly wrong about this. One is, it's a stinking pre-season game! It's bad enough NFL teams force fans to buy seats for these exhibitions if they want regular season tickets. Throw in the fact that the starters only play 5 minutes, most of the rest of the game is filled out by rookies who are nervous and making all kinds of mistakes, and the results matter less than anything Ann Coulter thinks about anything, and you wonder why anyone would want to attend this "event."
However ... watching it on TV at home is actually kind of fun. You can fire up the grill, get a decent look at how the new guys might do, and when it gets sloppy just go to the DVR and catch up on all those episodes of Gossip Girl you've been missing.
The NFL is stupid to black out games. Usually, games don't sell out because the team is bad and fans feel a disconnect with the franchise. The best thing to do is let a community see the product as often and easily as possible. Professional football is fun to watch, but only if you watch it. Taking that opportunity away is a great way to lose fans.