Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati
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Bloomberg News reported earlier today, January 2, that three National Football League playoff games this weekend could be blacked out in home markets because of lagging ticket sales. Thousands of tickets are still available in Cincinnati, Indianapolis, and Green Bay, says Bloomberg. The game in Cincinnati Sunday features the San Diego Chargers playing the Bengals.

Thousands of tickets are still available in those markets, says Bloomberg, and under NFL rules, a game can be blacked out 72 hours in advance if not enough tickets are sold. However, Indianapolis has been granted an extension, and it's possible Green Bay and Cincinnati will get them, too, says Bloomberg. Only two regular-season games in the league were blacked out during the regular season. A postseason game has not been blacked out since January 10, 2002, in Miami.

Cold weather can't be the only factor. The Indianapolis game Saturday will be played indoors. But the price of tickets could be a factor. Tickets remaining for the Indianapolis game range from $56 to $155. Remaining Green Bay tickets are listed at $102 to $313. The fact that people can watch games at home on high-definition, big-screen TVs or on smaller electronic gadgets are other factors.

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Comments

JustWondering Jan. 2, 2014 @ 3:25 p.m.

The weather forecast for the game in Greenbay, Wisconsin, is four degrees ferinheight at game time. What nut job is willing to spend $300 and risk their health/life to watch a bunch of overpaid whiners play a game. Betcha some of those numbskulls i.e. part owners just go to see the urine freeze in the public restrooms at Lambeau Field, considering it a "Packer" rite of passage. I rather be warm and snug at home counting my $300 bucks than brave a Greenbay winter day during our period of global warming.

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Don Bauder Jan. 2, 2014 @ 3:29 p.m.

JustWondering: You are right on every point, but there is another consideration: pro football in Green Bay -- and in the whole state of Wisconsin -- is a religion. It's neither a sport nor a business -- it is a gift from a benevolent God.

How would you like to own a liquor store near Lambeau Field on the day of a playoff game? Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering Jan. 2, 2014 @ 4:45 p.m.

Owning such a store would be like Christmas all over again. Could potentially earn profits for the entire year. NFL football is unique there; the only team in the League owned "the fans".

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 5:40 a.m.

JustWondering: I hate the word "unique" but you can perhaps apply it to Green Bay. It is a very small market, and the team is owned by a large group of local citizens instead of one billionaire. (Eighteen of 32 NFL owners are billionaires.) Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 2, 2014 @ 4:30 p.m.

Of the three games threatened with a blackout, I think GB will sell out. If Indy can't sell out--that should concern the NFL. I know people have to get to the games, but this is the only one of the three in question to be played indoors. Perhaps the NFL has finally exceeded their price point with many of their fans. They exceeded that with me about 5 years ago, and I haven't been to a game since. People who want a new stadium in San Diego--be very careful what you wish for. Ticket prices will be higher than what they are now--in some sections--MUCH higher.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 5:45 a.m.

aardvark: This is one pattern with pro sports stadiums financed by taxpayers. The owners promise that prices won't go up, and once the subsidies go through and the stadium is built, prices go up very sharply. After five years or so, the prices may begin inching down. This happened with the Padres, and almost invariably happens elsewhere. Best, Don Bauder

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Visduh Jan. 2, 2014 @ 5:37 p.m.

This is most odd. Football is a near religion in more places than Wisconsin. Yet, with all the intense interest in the NFL, its teams, its stars, and who-can-beat-whom, they may black out playoff games? Something isn't working here. Is it economic, in that the fans just cannot afford the tix? Is it something else? Not wanting to sit in a freezing stadium is one thing, and completely understandable. But when the locals are in a domed stadium and still won't buy the tix, there's a new factor. Could it be some sense of sanity?

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 5:50 a.m.

Visduh: It could be that sanity is raising its pretty head, although that is too much to ask for. People may be figuring out the subsidized stadium scam, which is usually pulled off with the help of local media.

The league may have exceeded price points. Players' head injuries may turn off some former fans. My guess is that watching the game electronically is enticing, and eating into ticket sales. Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 2, 2014 @ 5:45 p.m.

At these prices, I wonder how many tickets are comp'd to local officials as thank you's for pushing for new stadia.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 5:51 a.m.

ImJustABill: The answer is plenty. The next question: do the pols report the gifts, as they are required to do? Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 2, 2014 @ 6:27 p.m.

Kind of a microcosm of the widening gap between haves and have-nots. Only members of the upper middle class or upper class can afford to go to a game like this.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 5:54 a.m.

ImJustABill: Good thought. As I have been writing for some time, the U.S. economy has become a plutonomy -- an economy that relies on consumption by the affluent. Incomes of the bottom 80% are flat to down, adjusted for inflation, over several decades. Subsidized pro sports may be seeing this. Best, Don Bauder

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JustWondering Jan. 2, 2014 @ 9:13 p.m.

Just like New York .... A divided city... a tale of two cities...according to deBlasio the haves and the have nots.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 5:56 a.m.

JustWondering: Precisely. It's the upper 10% -- some say upper 1% -- against the rest. Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Jan. 3, 2014 @ 8:15 a.m.

The dominant fans of pro-football have always been the proletariat. In these times they can't justify paying to attend the games, no less treat the whole family. The wealthy use the games for business networking, rewards to clients or to lobby and write the expenses off their taxes. The mobility of modern families has fractured the loyal fan base that once unified a communities. In addition, football and baseball has been gradually losing fans to other more thrilling and less costly entertainment.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 11:41 a.m.

Ponzi: It is taxpayers who are shelling out the money to make pro football a plutocratic sport. The plutocrats sit in the luxury boxes, sheltered completely from the elements. The proletariat has to sit in the zero degree (or lower) weather. Best, Don Bauder

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MURPHYJUNK Jan. 3, 2014 @ 9:37 a.m.

only blacked out for those that can't find it posted on the internet.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 11:43 a.m.

Murphyjunk: Tell your friends in Cincinnati how to find the game on the internet if the game is blacked out in that area. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 7:30 p.m.

Murphyjunk: Neither is perfectly reliable, though. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 3, 2014 @ 11:15 a.m.

All of the games have been declared sell-outs---all but one. Chargers at Cincinnati. Apparently, the Bengals don't have the ability to give the number of unsold seats remaining to sell to avoid the blackout. Local reports have the total as of yesterday to be as high as 6,000 seats, and they have until 1pm (our time, I think) to sell them. Somehow, I think the game will be broadcast in Cincinnati--whether or not the tickets are actually sold. Either way, I think there will be thousands of Bengal fans dressed as empty seats this Sunday.

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 11:55 a.m.

aardvark: Yes, Indianapolis and Green Bay sold out today (Jan. 31) as in each case corporations stepped up and bought remaining tickets. Cincinnati has not yet sold out.

The Green Bay game may rival the coldest game on record -- the Dec. 31, 1967 NFC championship game between the Packers and Cowboys, won by the Packers 21-17. It was minus 13 Fahrenheit early, and was down to minus 18 at the end.

The second coldest game was Bengals vs. San Diego Jan. 10, 1982. The temperature was minus 9, but wind chill made it feel like minus 59. The Bengals won, 27-7. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 3, 2014 @ 1:41 p.m.

UPDATE--The Bengals game has sold out. I wonder what kind of discount the companies that bought the remaining tickets were given?

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 7:32 p.m.

aardvark: All I can find is that Cincinnati is nearing a sellout. I can't find confirmation of a sellout on Bloomberg, which has followed this most closely. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 3, 2014 @ 10:30 p.m.

Don: ESPN announced it earlier today.

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Don Bauder Jan. 4, 2014 @ 7:08 a.m.

aardvark: I don't doubt you but couldn't find it yesterday (Friday). Best, Don Bauder

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ImJustABill Jan. 3, 2014 @ 4:12 p.m.

There is some chance the FCC eventually will end the blackout policy,

Huge news today for sports fans! The FCC has proposed ending the sports blackout rule, which means that Sports Fans Coalition’s long march to end the rule is almost over. We’ll keep you posted, but in the meantime, here’s a statement from SFC Chairman David Goodfriend:

“The American sports fan just won another round, thanks to the Federal Communications Commission’s latest action. This is the beginning of the end of the Sports Blackout Rule in particular and government subsidization of anti-fan behavior by sports leagues more generally. Sports fans look forward to sharing their views in this important proceeding now under way at the FCC.”

http://sportsfans.org/2013/12/another-huge-victory-fcc-proposes-ending-sports-blackouts/

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Don Bauder Jan. 3, 2014 @ 7:36 p.m.

ImJustABill: Gee. The pro sports leagues, particularly the NFL, have always owned federal, state and local governments. The FCC has proposed ending the blackouts. It looks like it will happen, but keep your fingers crossed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 5, 2014 @ 6:51 p.m.

viewer: Pro sports are businesses, not games, but they are businesses depending on the public to believe that the performances are games. Yes, Jerry Coleman will be missed. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2014 @ 3:02 p.m.

viewer: For the price it costs to get into games, you would think fewer hooligans would attend. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 6, 2014 @ 6:43 p.m.

Don: I think more and more, as the costs of the games continues going up, the "fans" pretty much think they can do just about anything.

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2014 @ 6:55 p.m.

aardvark: That's especially true if you have paid $150 each for tickets. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2014 @ 3:04 p.m.

viewer: I never filed a separate item on Coleman -- I only replied to a couple of comments. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 6, 2014 @ 12:31 p.m.

It's pretty safe to say that this week's Chargers game will not be blacked out in Denver.

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2014 @ 3:06 p.m.

aardvark: I would think it has been decades since a game has been blacked out in Denver. The Broncos are a religion in Colorado. Best, Don Bauder

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aardvark Jan. 6, 2014 @ 6:44 p.m.

Don: Are you going? :) Pretty sure I know the answer to that one.

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2014 @ 6:46 p.m.

aardvark: I will watch it on TV. Best, Don Bauder

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mridolf Jan. 6, 2014 @ 8:53 p.m.

"Ice Conditions Possible; Drive with Care.!" That's what my rental car is telling me. As luck would have it, my sadistic boss sent me to an emergency 1-week job in Green Bay, 1 mile from Lambeau field, starting Saturday morning. Workers didn't work Sunday, so I sat it out in the hotel, 2 miles from the stadium. Yes, it was full of fans, and fan's families. I saw fans for both teams here. The cheezeheads were wearing wedge hats and bras (the men). The Niner's fans were wearing coats and furry hats. It was somber after the game, obviously. And the cold did make a difference, even to locals. My work contact here had 3 tickets for the game, but even he said there was no way he was going in that weather. He offered one to me, and I also demured. As for the liquor store, well, it's mostly beer here. But you're right about sure sellouts, in some neighborhoods. Like this one. Brrrrrr. Looking forward to it getting back up to zero by Wednesday.

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Don Bauder Jan. 6, 2014 @ 10:01 p.m.

mridolf: Yes, Wisconsin is the beer state, but the citizens guzzle a lot of hard liquor, too. Like Schnapps. Or to wash down the beer -- boilermakers. I know. I went to the University of Wisconsin/Madison in the 1950s. I believe that on a per capita basis Wisconsin is the heaviest drinking state. Best, Don Bauder

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