DOLPHINS NOTEBOOK

Miami Dolphins take step to avoid TV blackouts

 

abeasley@miamiherald.com

The Miami Dolphins have already sold more tickets for their eight home games than they did in all of 2012, and their home opener against the Atlanta Falcons is guaranteed to be on television.

However, the team has decided again to use the 85 percent blackout threshold, meaning the Dolphins need to sell just 51,000 non-premium tickets to get home games on TV locally, chief revenue officer Jim Rushton told The Miami Herald on Sunday.

The Dolphins, who haven’t had a game blacked out since 2000, elected to have the same threshold in 2012, the first year the league made the option available to teams who struggle to fill their stadiums.

Still, the Dolphins are trending in the right direction. Rushton said the team has already sold more season tickets than it did in 2012, when the Dolphins had 40,192 season-ticket holders – the franchise’s lowest figure in 30 years.

Other encouraging signs the Dolphins’ fan base is warming to the team:

• Single-game ticket sales are up 79 percent from this time last year.

• The Ravens game on Oct. 6 is on the verge of having the blackout lifted.

• The Dolphins have the second-highest number of new season-ticket holders in the league.

“We’re very thankful for the fan support,” Rushton said.

Rushton acknowledged much work remains, most specifically in the area of season ticket customer retention. The Dolphins drew just 57,375 fans per game last year, their lowest average attendance since 1989.

ROOKIES’ PRODUCTION LIMITED

Other than Dion Jordan, who was active, the Dolphins didn’t get anything from their early picks in the 2013 draft Sunday.

Second-round pick Jamar Taylor (hernia) and third-rounder Will Davis (toe) had been ruled out on Friday. But offensive lineman Dallas Thomas, another third-round selection, was a healthy scratch. He simply wasn’t one of the seven best linemen on the roster.

Jordan was credited with a tackle and a sack, although he appeared to tweak his mending shoulder at one point. He was able to finish the game, however.

Other Dolphins inactives: quarterback Pat Devlin, running back Mike Gillislee, linebacker Josh Kaddu and guard Danny Watkins.

STARKS HAS DUBIOUS MOMENT

Randy Starks, who is not happy with his contract situation, made a not-so-subtle statement after his first sack of the season: He flipped the bird.

The gesture was captured by CBS Sports cameras and televised live.

Starks is playing under the $8.5 million franchise tag designation, but wants a long-term deal. He recently turned down an offer from the Dolphins’ front office.

POUNCEY’S BROTHER OUT FOR SEASON

Mike Pouncey barely got to celebrate Sunday’s win before getting some awful news: His twin brother Maurkice, a center for the Steelers, is out for the season after tearing his ACL and MCL Sunday.

“It’s tough, man,” Mike Pouncey said in the Dolphins locker room. “You don’t want to see that happen to anybody, especially a family member. I got off the phone with him. He’s taking it hard. He’s not taking it as hard as I am, but it’s tough. He’ll come back stronger.”

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