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NFL Blackouts Avoided In Playoff Games

Overpriced NFL tickets, the greater availability of high-definition television and Wi-Fi have caused NFL teams to scramble to sell playoff tickets. An NFL blackout, which hasn’t occurred in 12 years, occurs when the local broadcast station cannot show games because it hasn’t been sold out by the deadline.

Decrease In Ticket Sales A Factor For A Potential NFL Blackout

There are many factors that can lead to a blackout. The current NFL blackout policy dictates that home games no longer require a 100 percent sell out. Some teams have opted out of this clause because they would have to pay a higher percentage of gate fees to the NFL.

One big factor in the decreased ticket sales includes; as mentioned earlier; is the quality and availability of HD TVs. But high ticket prices, high blackout thresholds, and secondary ticket markets also contribute to a possible blackout for a city. With the NFL prices tickets so high, it is not convenient for fans to purchase Wild Card Weekend tickets – especially right after the holidays.

Crisis Averted

NFL blackout

The Green Bay Packers host the San Francisco 49ers Sunday, January 5, 2014 at Lambeau Stadium.

The crisis was barely averted, and there has not been a playoff blackout since 2002. The threat of a blackout hurts the NFL more than it hurts teams. Three teams faced the possibility of having a network blackout this time around.

Green Bay, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati announced early Friday, January 3, 2014 that all of their remaining tickets had been sold out. The NFL imposed an extension for the teams until Friday at 4 p.m. ET instead of the normal Thursday deadline.

Green Bay Packers

The NFL gave the Packers a second extension after they came short of selling out 80,750-seat Lambeau Field for Sunday’s NFC wild-card playoff game.

“We’re very thankful to Packers fans, and our partners led by Associated Bank, for ensuring Sunday’s game will be sold out,” Mark Murphy, the Packers’ president/CEO said (via “A unique season and other factors contributed to having tickets available, but with the support of our fans and partners, we’re looking forward to a great atmosphere Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Indianapolis Colts

A grocery chain in Indianapolis, Meijer, purchased the remaining 1,200 tickets, ensuring that the Colts’ playoff game Saturday is a sellout and will not be blacked out in the local TV market.

Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals announced the sellout to their Sunday game with less than an hour to go until the NFL’s mandated 4 p.m. deadline. Cincinnati’s tickets were donated to active duty and veteran military members.

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