Five Dolphins Games in TV Jeopardy

With season ticket sales in a slump, only three home Dolphins games are currently safe from blackout

The Dolphins' Thursday pre-season game is the first to be slapped with a TV blackout since 2003, but the bigger concern is suffering the same fate during the regular season.

A Dolphins exec said Tuesday that five home games, starting with Week 2 against Houston, need "a lot" more tickets sold to ensure they'll be broadcast.

"We have work to do," said Mark Tilson, Miami's senior vice president of sales and ticket operations.

In fact, the only home games sure to avoid blackout so far are those against the Patriots, Jets, and Eagles.

Tilson said that season ticket sales are currently on pace with those from 2008, one of the lowest in recent history on the heels of an infamous 1-15 season.

After a 1-7 home record in 2010, it's not a stretch to say Miami again lacks built-in momentum. Along with a weak economy and a slow start thanks to the lockout, the franchise will have to overcome seemingly considerable fan burnout.

Pembroke Pines resident Julio Garrido was too defeated to renew the six season tickets he held in the 100 level of Sun Life Stadium.

"Seeing the same old, same old, the promises that they'd do better, and really no became a burden to get ready to go to the stadium," he said.

"I won't be rushing back for Dolphins games like I used to for 10 years."

The organization, like the team, is working it. With a need to fill the roughly 75,000 seats at Sun Life, they're advertising new promotions, offering more accommodating payment options than ever before, and have even sent letters from owner Stephen Ross and CEO Mike Dee.

But the simplest solution, of course, is to win. That miserable start in 2008 saw increased demand when the team started pacing toward an 11-5 playoffs-bound finish, eventually notching season ticket sales in the mid-to-high 40,000 range.

Can the Dolphins notch another incredible turnaround? Unless you buy a ticket, you won't be able to collect evidence on Thursday night either way.

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