Posted January 03, 2014

Bengals, Colts and Packers avoid wild-card weekend blackout

NFL Playoffs
Even the protection of a retractable roof nearly didn't spare the Colts a TV blackout this weekend.

Even the protection of a roof nearly didn’t spare the Colts a TV blackout this weekend. (Damian Strohmeyer/AP)

It took longer than the NFL may have liked, but it now appears that the first playoff weekend will occur sans TV blackouts.

Colts owner Jim Irsay announced Friday on Twitter that the final 1,200 tickets available for Saturday’s Kansas City vs. Indianapolis postseason contest had been purchased by Meijer, a supermarket chain, which planned to donate those tickets to military families.

The Colts needed two extensions from the NFL to avoid the local (75-mile radius) TV blackout that comes as penalty for not selling out a game. That window usually closes 72 hours prior to kickoff — 4:35 p.m. ET Wednesday, in this case — but the Colts requested that deadline be moved back first to Thursday, then to Friday afternoon.

The Bengals, who host San Diego on Sunday afternoon, also appear to be nearing a sellout thanks to help from the business sector. Kroger, another multi-state supermarket chain, purchased “a large quantity of tickets” for the playoff game, also with the intent of providing those tickets to military families.

Cincinnati originally had until 1 p.m. ET Thursday to lock in a sellout, then asked for an extension as well. The team announced via Twitter prior to that first deadline that 3,500 tickets remained for Sunday’s game but deleted the tweet later. After Kroger’s purchase was complete, the Bengals were quick to point out that some tickets still remained available.

(Update, 3 p.m. ET: The Bengals sold the last of their tickets for Sunday’s game, meaning all of this weekend’s action will avoid being blacked out.)

The last game of wild-card weekend, San Francisco at Green Bay, is also within striking distance of a sellout — despite wind-chill temperatures expected to dip near minus-30 around kickoff late Sunday afternoon. The Packers announced Thursday that 3,000 tickets were left for that contest, then dropped that estimated number down to about 1,000 on Friday. Like both the Colts and Bengals, the Packers received an extension to reach a sellout.

(Update, 12:30 p.m. ET: The Packers have announced their game has sold out, thus ensuring it will not be blacked out.)

Philadelphia, the fourth wild-card weekend host, sold out its game vs. New Orleans earlier this week.

The NFL seems set to have a much easier go of things for the divisional round. The Seahawks’ Round 2 game against a yet-to-be-determined opponent sold out in 26 minutes Tuesday; Carolina’s upcoming home game, meanwhile, was deemed a sellout just three minutes after tickets hit the market Wednesday.

THE PLAYBOOK: Previewing all four NFL wild-card weekend matchups

15 comments
Montana410
Montana410

I am happy for the military families getting to go the game, but, Maybe Kroger could pay their employees a little more than minimum wage.

ElvisHitler
ElvisHitler

Hi i'm a dumb hick and i want to guh to the puckers game and sit in 50 below weather just to watch me team get slotterd. i'll jus git lickered up and wurry bout the frossbight on mundee. pass me a cold one.

PhillyPenn
PhillyPenn

With the weather being what it's going to be in GB and CIncy I can kind of understand this, but Indy?


That's lame as all hell Indianapolis fans.  

deandiesin55
deandiesin55

The military does great things for our country but how about consideration for educators and under-privileged?

justsomeguy
justsomeguy

In 2 of these 3 cases its probably just the weather, but it makes you wonder if ticket prices are getting closer to the sweet spot for the owners...where games either just barely sell out or there are a small number of empty seats.  People often complain about prices but if the game sells out and tickets are available above face value through secondary channels, the tickets were underpriced in the first place.*  That extra money is going to resellers and their associated fees (at least the team puts on the event itself...resellers aren't doing anything to deserve profit).


* The best consumers can possibly hope for is teams to price tickets just below what people would actually pay such that there is no profit for resellers, taking into account fees and their own time.  Or just auctions for every ticket right from the teams themselves...

leehwgoc
leehwgoc

Wildcard games shouldn't have any trouble selling out.  Seems apparent to me that ticket prices simply need to be lowered.

gbgentleman
gbgentleman

I want to see the faces of the SF fans who fly in on Saturday (high of 25) and think it's cold, then walk out the hotel room door the next morning into -10 degree temps with a biting wind.  


They will be screaming...but not for their team.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

The tickets may all be sold but the seats will certainly not all be filled. TV stations or the team itself bought up the remaining tickets to get the blackout lifted. That's fine, of course, but the NFL shouldn't be crowing about it.

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

Even Packer fans now understand the appealing nature of staying at home watching the game in 7.1 surround sound and HDTV. It get's old sitting next too unbathed, drunken, and obnoxious deer hunters for 4 hours. YIKES!

HieronymusBosch
HieronymusBosch

@deandiesin55  Like what? Stealing %53 of all our tax money for useless sh*t like allowing Al Queda to take over Fallujah? Mission fu&*ing accomplished....

justsomeguy
justsomeguy

@leehwgoc Why?  This worked out perfectly for the owners.  They got their sell out or near sell out, while taking home more of the money themselves, rather than it just going to resellers.  The blackout created an opportunity for these companies to get some nice publicity on two fronts, stepping in to let local people watch their team, while doing some charity work (the cost of which will not coincidentally be written off).

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

@Rickapolis It sounds like most, if not all, of the tickets are going to be given to military families, presumably only ones who want to actually attend, so not sure there will be many empty seats because of the ticket buy-ups. The weather for the two Sunday games is another story, however. Both games will be outdoors in terrible conditions for the fans. I suspect a lot of people who bought tickets will opt to stay home and watch on TV.

Bucky182
Bucky182

@Richard--Ramirez@Wisconsin Death Trip I can agree with your assessment (about potentially getting stomped) to a point but as a resident of SW Wisconsin the weather reports no longer even contain actual temperatures for Sunday and Monday. They are now simply being referred to as "life threatening temperatures." Not really "let's go sit outside on aluminum bleachers for three-and-a-half hours" weather.