Friday, December 20, 2013
The National Football League Thursday gave the San Diego Chargers an extra 24 hours to sell 1,300 tickets so that Sunday's contest against the Oakland Raiders can appear on local television screens.
Per NFL rules, games not sold-out by the deadline -- 72 hours before kickoff -- must be blacked out in the home team's geographic area. However, the league gives extensions when teams are close. The most expensive club level seats at Qualcomm Stadium are exempted from the count.
The Chargers' home loss to Cincinnati last month was the NFL's first blackout of the season. The second will be this Sunday when the Buffalo Bills host the Miami Dolphins.
The Chargers-Raiders game, normally a hot ticket, could be the third.
Four Chargers home games were blacked out last season.
Wednesday, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission proposed doing away with its sports blackout rules, which the agency described as "outdated'' because of changes in the marketplace. The rules were adopted in 1975 when ticket sales were a sports team's primary source of income.
Eliminating the federal rules would still allow private interests like the league, broadcasters and cable operators to continue the blackout procedure if they wished, according to the FCC.
The NFL "will strongly oppose any change to the rule,'' said Brian McCarthy, the league's vice president of corporate communications.
"The blackout rule is very important in supporting NFL stadiums and the ability of NFL clubs to sell tickets and keeping our games attractive as television programming with large crowds,'' McCarthy said.
According to the NFL, 30 of the 31 most-watched television programs since Labor Day have been pro football games. The exception was the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which ranked 20th.