NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A local television blackout for an NFL playoff game in Green Bay? Huh?
If the public doesn’t get its act in gear and buy up the remaining tickets for Sunday’s Wild Card Weekend matchup between the Packers and San Francisco 49ers at Lambeau Field, that’s exactly what will happen. And it’s not just happening in Titletown.
The Packers initially had to sell out by 3:40 p.m. ET on Thursday to avoid a local television blackout. NFL rules say teams must sell out games at least 72 hours prior to kickoff to ensure they will be shown on local TV. However, likely due to the timing of the New Year’s holiday, the league granted the Packers an extension until Friday.
Green Bay has a streak of 319 consecutive sellouts, including 18 playoff games, and close to 100,000 people on their season-ticket waiting list.
According to a team spokesman, the Packers had 5,500 unsold tickets as of Thursday morning. Part of the problem could be the fact that the team added 7,000 seats behind the south end zone last offseason, lifting Lambeau’s capacity to more than 80,000.
The situation is similar in Indianapolis and Cincinnati, where the Colts and Bengals, respectively, each had thousands of tickets they needed to sell by Thursday afternoon, but were granted extensions until Friday.
The Colts, who have sold out 137 of their last 138 home games, had roughly 5,500 tickets available. They will take on Kansas City on Saturday in an AFC playoff game.
The Bengals, who are coming off an AFC North championship, had less than 8,000 tickets available for Sunday’s playoff game against San Diego.
According to ESPN, the NFL allows teams to buy up regular season tickets for 34 cents on the dollar to avoid television blackouts, but they must pay full price for playoff games.
The last time an NFL playoff game was blacked out was on Jan. 10, 2002, a wild-card game between the Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens in Miami.
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